May 22, 2007
Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today introduced bipartisan legislation to step up U.S. involvement in stopping global warming.
“Our country has done next to nothing to address the climate-change crisis,” Lantos said. “We have fallen to the back of the global pack when we should be leading the way. This legislation will re-assert the U.S. leadership role in battling global warming and bringing more countries into the fight.”
The International Climate Cooperation Re-engagement Act (H.R. 2420), which is co-sponsored by Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Ed Markey (D-MA), underscores the global consensus that the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the earth's atmosphere must be reduced through a coordinated international response. It mandates serious U.S. re-engagement in the effort to reach a global agreement that requires binding emissions mitigation commitments from all the major emitters, including China, India, and Brazil. And it supports energy export policy and assistance programs that will promote clean-energy production in even the poorest countries.
Where currently low-level negotiators have been sent by the United States to key international meetings on climate change, under the new legislation the U.S. representatives to critical meetings would be senior diplomats with instructions to secure binding commitments for reform. The bill also allocates money to the US Agency for International Development to work with developing nations to improve energy efficiency and to bolster the regulatory and financial environments for adopting clean-energy technologies.
“The climate change problem represents a new kind of policy dilemma - a truly global catastrophe-in-the-making that necessitates the cooperation of literally every nation,” Lantos said. “We need to make sure the United States leads by example. This bill will start us on that path.”
The legislation is intended to be part of a larger, comprehensive climate-change legislative package that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked all relevant House committees to undertake.