Senate Introduces Climate Bill: Clean Energy Jobs Act Builds on House Momentum

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) speaks at Senate Climate Bill launch this morning.

Building on the momentum generated by passage of a comprehensive energy and climate bill (H.R. 2454) in the House in late June, the Senate today introduced its own clean energy jobs bill — the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act — at a Capitol Hill event this morning.

David Moulton, The Wilderness Society’s director of climate change policy, praised Senators Kerry and Boxer for their leadership in introducing the bill, noting that “it has never been more urgent to take action to move our nation away from a dangerous dependence on fossil fuel and toward an energy policy that is renewable, sustainable, and home-grown.”

Moulton said that “the effects of global warming already are being felt on our nation’s public lands — the national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other wild lands that are critical to clean air, clean water, and other benefits on which our human communities depend. The bill introduced today will help ensure that we don’t lose these places we’ve fought for more than a century to protect.”

The Wilderness Society is working with a broad coalition of conservation, business, faith, labor, hunter-angler, and other groups to urge Senators to pass a strong bill. A smaller coalition is working for specific language that allocates at least five percent of revenues to helping natural resources to the inevitable impacts of climate change — and that provides jobs for Americans helping to restore the land and make our treasured landscapes more resilient in a warming world.

Sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act will:

  • Reduce global warming by limiting the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that polluters pour into the atmosphere;
  • Invest in clean, renewable energy technologies that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and increase America’s home-grown energy supplies; and
  • Reduce the harmful effects of climate change on America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other wild lands by investing a portion of the bill’s revenues in protecting our natural resources from the effects of global warming.

Man working at solar thermal system in Colorado. Photo by Dave Parsons, NREL.The legislation introduced today promises a range of “made in America” energy solutions that will fuel economic growth, creating up to two million new jobs that can’t be shipped overseas, according to its sponsors. In introducing the bill, Sen. Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted the importance of action on global warming to America’s national security.

Passing a strong U.S. climate bill also is seen as critical to international climate treaty negotiations set to take place in Copenhagen in December.

Global warming legislation has been a top priority of the administration since last year’s presidential campaign, and President Obama today praised the bill’s sponsors for moving forward in the Senate. "With the draft legislation they are announcing today, we are one step closer to putting America in control of our energy future and making America more energy independent," the President said in a statement . "My administration is deeply committed to passing a bill that creates new American jobs and the clean energy incentives that foster innovation. I commend Senators Boxer and Kerry for their work and look forward to signing comprehensive energy legislation that addresses this urgent challenge."

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) speaks at Senate Climate Bill launch this morning.
Man working at solar thermal system in Colorado. Photo by Dave Parsons, Courtesy NREL.