Spurred by Environmental Defense’s “Operation Climate Vote” & informed (but not deterred) by this Reuter’s article on the ineffectiveness of the European Union’s greenhouse gas cap & trade program, I sent the following message to my Congressmen & the speakers of both the U.S. House & Senate.

The Nobel committee’s recent decision to award the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change & Al Gore the 2007 Peace Prize for their work on synthesizing & disseminating the research on anthropogenic global warming has catapulted the topic of global warming & its likely negative consequences to the forefront of international awareness. Yet even with several bills introduced ^ time running short on the legislative calendar, Congress has not yet scheduled a vote to reduce our greenhouse gas pollution contributing to global warming. As the largest of per capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, America must shoulder its responsibility by taking meaningful action to protect the commons of the global climate.

I believe that a well-designed emissions cap & trade system and/or carbon tax represent the highest-leverage & least-intrusive methods of meeting this enormous challenge. A recent analysis by MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change indicates that none of the draft legislative proposals to enforce limits on greenhouse gas pollution would significantly dampen U.S. economic growth over the next 50 years. With little to lose through appropriate action and much lose through continued inaction, the U.S. must take this opportunity to display leadership in effectively reducing our greenhouse gas pollution. Once the U.S. has joined Europe & the majority of the international community in committed efforts to combat global warming, we will be in a position to use our enormous influence as global leaders to ensure that China, India, & other rapidly developing countries take similar steps to be responsible world actors.

As a concerned citizen, I (once again) urge you to work to pass legislation in both houses of Congress that:

  • Sets a hard & progressively decreasing cap on global warming pollution with a specific, realistic, but aggressive timetable for reductions;
  • Ensures that all forms of global warming pollution are covered, with no sectors or industries exempted;
  • Sets standards for environmentally sound biofuels ensuring these interim energy sources actually reduce global warming pollution; and
  • Sets allowance quantities low enough & trading prices (&/or tax rates) high enough to avoid the mistakes of the EU cap & trade system & force real market competition for nonpolluting energy sources.

With only weeks left in the legislative calendar & every moment adding tons of additional greenhouse gas pollution to the atmosphere, there is no time to lose. Please move forward aggressively on passing effective legislation to limit our greenhouse gas emissions.