Lawmakers called on Jan. 30 for an end to American complacency over global warming as the new Democratic-controlled Congress weighed measures to reduce greenhouse gases. "We must act now to address global warming," said the Senate Environment Committee's new chairwoman, Democrat Barbara Boxer.
Boxer said she would introduce a bill that would raise the energy efficiency standards for thousands of federal buildings. A second bill she will introduce would step up development of cellulosic ethanol -- derived from agricultural waste, grass and other plants -- as an alternative to gasoline.
Boxer, who has vowed to hold a series of hearings on global warming over in the coming weeks has promised to craft global warming legislation that is very similar to legislation signed into law in her home state of California in September. That law would cap emissions from utilities and industry and stop large utilities from buying power from suppliers unless their generating plants meet strict limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The stepped up concern came amid mounting calls for the United Nations to organize a world summit on climate change, and as a draft UN report concluded that global warming will unleash bouts of extreme heat, dryness and rainfall and make typhoons and hurricanes more violent by 2100.
Senator Joe Lieberman reintroduced legislation that would "cap the greenhouse gas emissions of the electric power, industrial, transportation and commercial sectors of the economy at year 2004 levels by 2012 ... and then would lower that cap gradually. Our bill uses the power of the free market to promote the rapid and widespread deployment of advanced technologies and practices for reducing greenhouse gases," he said.
According to the UN draft report there is now a 90% probability that man-made greenhouse gases have driven up Earth's surface temperature over the past half century. Eleven of the last 12 years rank among the warmest years for which there are reliable records, according to the draft, which is being discussed line by line at the four-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Paris.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007