2003 Scorecard Vote
Strong scientific evidence links carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the warming of the Earth over the last 50 years. Worldwide, the United States is the biggest single contributor to global climate change, producing about 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, U.S. emissions continue to grow at an alarming rate, rising by 14 percent during the 1990s despite an international commitment to freeze emissions levels. While President Bush nominally has acknowledged the reality of global warming, he has steadfastly opposed the Kyoto climate treaty, negotiated in Japan in 1997, which calls for 38 industrialized countries to make cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. President Bush also reversed course on a promise he made during the presidential campaign to require power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Senate has also refrained from taking concrete action to reduce the pollution that causes global warming. That changed in July 2003, when Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) refused to let the Senate energy bill proceed to a House-Senate conference without an agreement to debate and hold an up-or-down vote on their global warming proposal, the Climate Stewardship Act (S. 139). The legislation would require major industries, including power plants and oil companies, to collectively reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases to 2000 emission levels by the year 2010. Although this is a relatively modest reduction in emissions, it represents an important first step towards emissions reduction and would send an important signal to the global community that the United States is willing to take action on this global issue.
McCain and Lieberman successfully brought the bill to a vote, but on October 30, 2003, the Senate defeated the McCain-Lieberman legislation by a 43-55 vote (Senate roll call vote 420). YES is the pro-environment vote. Both Senators have vowed to continue to push for passage of S. 139 in 2004.