The Nov. 6 editorial "Welcome, Chairman Smith" endorsed legislation introduced by the late Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) that would offer companies tradable "credits" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But the value of these credits relies on the ratification of the Kyoto treaty and the development of an international emissions-trading mechanism, and the Senate is not going to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because it exempts developing nations and would seriously harm the U.S. economy.
Sens. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) and I have introduced legislation that instead approaches this issue in a market-based, technology-driven manner. Our Energy and Climate Policy Act has three main components:
It provides $2 billion over 10 years for research and development of technologies that avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
It strengthens federal law recognizing voluntary emission-reduction efforts and expands it to small businesses and agricultural producers.
It ensures greater accountability for federal policy by creating an Office of Global Climate Change within the Department of Energy.
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has offered two additional bills, which I cosponsored, to require the federal government to focus climate research on sound science, examine the economic effect of climate change alternatives and publish detailed reports on all federal climate change activities. These bills also would encourage export of U.S. clean-energy technology and provide tax and regulatory incentives for voluntary private-sector efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation my colleagues and I have introduced calls for further study. Sound science should dictate our actions.
U.S. Senator (R-Neb.)