News

    US Senators Agree on Framework for Climate Change Bill

    Cindy Saine

    A bipartisan group of senators have agreed on a framework for climate change legislation and sent it to President Obama ahead of his trip to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.  The senators say they want to send a message to the world leaders meeting there that the U.S. Senate is committed to reducing pollution and creating new jobs. 

    Senators John Kerry, a Democrat, Lindsey Graham, a Republican and Joseph Lieberman, an Independent Democrat, have been working for weeks to craft a compromise climate bill that could win the 60 votes needed to pass in the U.S. Senate.

    On Thursday, Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry said they had agreed to merge separate bills on climate change, creating jobs and energy independence.

    "This framework should send a strong and clear message to Americans: we can create millions of jobs and increase our economic and national security by setting a target to reduce pollution and make ourselves more energy independent," said Senator Kerry.

    The framework backs a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 emission levels by the year 2020.  It also includes plans for wider domestic offshore oil-and-gas-drilling and expanded federal support for clean coal and nuclear power.

    Senator Lieberman said the framework is also meant to send a message to world leaders gathered at the climate conference in Copenhagen.

    "We send a message to the delegates gathered in Copenhagen that the movement for climate change legislation in the United Senate is alive and well and moving forward," said Senator Lieberman.

    Lieberman said the three senators have been in talks with the chairmen of several committees, and with other members of both parties.  He said they do not have the 60 votes needed to move a climate change bill forward yet, but there are more than 60 votes that are in play. 

    Many Republican lawmakers have voiced skepticism about climate change legislation, fearing it could mean short-term job losses at a time when unemployment is already high.  But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said other countries, such as China, India and a number of European countries already know that so-called green energy is the way of the future.

    "I believe the green economy is coming," said Senator Graham. "It is not a question if it is going to happen, it is just when it is going to happen, and the sooner the better for me."

    Asked why he was not joined in the compromise-legislation effort by any other Republicans, Graham said for him, being for a clean environment is not a partisan issue.

    "Why can't America have the cleanest air and the purest water?  And why would any Republican or Democrat not want that to be so," asked Graham.

    Graham said that he, Kerry and Lieberman would need to convince Republican and Democratic lawmakers from industrial states that passing legislation to limit greenhouse gas emission is the best way to replace the millions of jobs that have been lost in the recession.  He said those lawmakers that are for building nuclear power plants in the United States again should support this draft legislation.

    The White House welcomed the compromise framework announced Thursday, saying the president believes this is a positive development towards reaching a strong, unified and  bipartisan agreement in the U.S. Senate.

    Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to bring climate change legislation to the Senate floor early next year, after focusing on health care reform for much of 2009.
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.