Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA)

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Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) of 2007 (S.280) on January 12, 2007. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.[1]

Article summary (how summaries work)
It is the Senate version of the House's Climate Stewardship Act (H.R.620). The bill would establish an emissions "cap and trade" system to go into effect in 2012, requiring a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions of 15 percent by 2020 and 65 percent by 2050. Its mandates would cover electric power production and petroleum for the industrial, commercial, and transportation sectors. The measure would also set up the Climate Change Credit Corporation to reduce the resulting costs to consumers; provide R&D funding for advanced coal, renewable electricity, energy efficiency, advanced technology vehicles, transportation fuels, carbon sequestration and storage, and nuclear reactor technologies; and require the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to make periodic evaluations to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.[2]


Support, opposition and critiques

Environmental Defense, a non-profit group committed to "developing constructive alternatives" to solve the most serious environmental problems, commended the bill, citing it as "aggressive in the short term and responsible over the long term." Stricter than the previous version introduced during the 109th Congress, the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007 would establish emission reduction requirements of 2004 levels by 2012, 1990 levels by 2020, and sixty percent below 1990 by 2050. Along with the cap would be a "market to trade emissions allowances, allowing the needed reductions to be achieved in the most efficient way possible." Environmental Defense praised the measure for putting a cap on pollution and allowing the free market to find the best solutions to fixing climate change, modeled after the hugely successful acid rain program established under President George H.W. Bush. The bill would also provide "transitional support for low carbon alternative fuels, including nuclear power." Environmental Defense also supported these provisions for research into nuclear power as an alternative fuel source, a rather unusual position for an environmental group, stating that despite there being "some very serious issues to work out with nuclear power," the "challenge of global warming is so urgent we can’t afford to take anything off the table." The organization was also reassured by the fact that funding would not go directly to new nuclear power plant construction, but would only fund research for innovations in nuclear power, such as in areas like waste disposal and security.[3]

Greenpeace was considerably less supportive of the bill. The organization, while acknowledging that the bill indicated that the "center of gravity in Congress is shifting toward significant long-term reductions in global warming pollution," argued that it remained flawed. Their criticisms included[4]:

  • The target emissions reductions in the bill fall considerably short of what scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
  • The bill includes subsidies for nuclear energy, which is inherently dangerous and provides no "real solution" to global warming. In addition, subsidies to nuclear companies in the form of loan-guarantees, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), have a good chance (over 50 percent) of not being repaid.[5]

Articles and resources

See also


  1. OpenCongress: S.280
  2. Climate Change Bills of the 110th Congress Environmental Defense, May 29, 2007.
  3. Press Release: Environmental Defense Welcomes Strengthened Lieberman-McCain Global Warming Bill, Environmental Defense, January 12, 2007.
  4. Greenpeace press release on the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act
  5. Greenpeace press release on the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act

External resources

External articles