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Senators Kerry and Graham Lay Out Bipartisan Proposal on Climate Change in NYT Op-Ed

10/13/09

Ryan Brown

10/13/09

Senator John Kerry and Senator Lindsey Graham coauthored a Op-Ed piece in the New York Times today about the urgency of passing climate change legislation and the necessity of a bipartisan solution. In this piece they outline their five part plan for curbing emissions here in the United States while at the same time spurring economic growth.

First, the senators agree that climate change is real and needs to be dealt with using a market-based system. The details about what sort of market based system they are proposing are missing in this Op-Ed but one can assume that they are suggesting a carbon trading system similar to the Chicago Climate Exchange where carbon credits are traded by the ton.

Secondly, the senators believe that investment in renewable energy and nuclear power are essential to reducing emissions.  They suggest streamlining the permit system that slows or stops many nuclear power plants from being built.

Thirdly, the senators emphasize that we can use the changes in emissions standards to finally break our reliance on foreign oil. Along these lines the senators propose that we foster the growth of clean coal technologies. Also the senators insist that we must compromise and allow additional onshore and offshore gas explorations.

Fourthly, the senators suggest implementing a border tax on items produced in countries like China and India because of their resistance to implement cleaner emissions standards. This is likely the most important part of this proposal. This border tax would have vast consequences both in overseas production and in international relations. Especially since China holds the vast majority of our debt

Fifthly, they suggest creating a mechanism to protect businesses and consumers from increases in energy prices.

This proposal is very important because it is a large first step in the right direction toward energy policy reform and ultimately reduced emissions. It is clear that both sides had to make major concessions to reach this bipartisan proposal, thus those on both sides are likely to find much wrong with it. But this is the kind of proposal that we need in America to lead to a cleaner and more prosperous future. For this reason I am for this proposal so long as it can become law before COP-15. We need to lead the way on climate change!

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