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Senator Says Time for Climate Change Legislation is Now

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Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) had a great editorial in Roll Call today. In it he argues for clean energy and climate change legislation to "make our region and our country stronger."

This is important because Senator Brown is one of the key Midwestern Democrats in the Senate whose vote is crucial to getting the 60 that will be needed to break an inevitable filibuster. Last year Senator Brown voted against ending a filibuster on the climate legislation that was then before the Senate. This year he is making the case for acting now:

Some people would say that our current economic crisis compels us to delay action on comprehensive climate change legislation. I disagree. Inaction is not an option. Capping carbon emissions can create new jobs in a clean energy economy. Without action, we face dangerous consequences. We risk the health of our citizens, the viability of our coastal areas, the productivity of our nation's farms, forests and fisheries, and the long-term economic and national security of our country.

The details will matter, of course. Senator Brown will rightly insist that climate legislation be designed in a way that encourages reinvestment in Ohio's manufacturing base, rather than outsourcing jobs and pollution to countries that have not yet enacted similar policies. This can be accomplished with the judicious use of a portion of the value of emission allowances established under a carbon cap to support efficiency improvements in energy intensive manufacturing plants. As Senator Brown says:

Done right, climate change legislation will improve our nation's competitiveness by creating new jobs and developing new technologies.

NRDC looks forward to working with Senator Brown to make sure we get it right, and get it done this year.


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