Senate Draft Energy Bill Contains Global Warming Title

by William Yeatman on April 1, 2003

in Politics

The majority staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 26 released comprehensive energy legislation in draft form. The bill includes significant global warming policy proposals in Title XI. The climate change title would create a White House Office of Climate Policy and climate czar, require the executive branch to produce a national strategy that “will stabilize and ultimately reduce net U. S. emissions of greenhouse gases” plus annual progress reports; and create a system administered by the Department of Energy to award credits for voluntary actions to cut emissions.

After taking comments through April 4, the committee staff plans to produce a “chairmans mark” for release on April 8. This would allow Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) to mark up the bill in committee on April 10. It is unlikely that action on the entire bill will be completed before the Easter recess, but sources told Cooler Heads that the chairman wanted to complete work on the climate title on the 10th.

The language in the climate provisions is mostly taken from Republican-sponsored amendments to the energy bill put together in the last Congress by then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S. D.), which was brought to the floor without being considered by the Energy Committee. Most of those amendments were offered in an attempt to water down what were considered by their sponsors to be the most objectionable parts of Daschles bill.

The energy bill overall is much more pro-energy than last years Daschle bill. It contains provisions that would allow greater access to Americas energy resources and promote development of the nations energy infrastructure. It also jettisons several provisions that would limit energy supplies and raise prices, such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard for electric utilities.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute immediately came out against the climate title. A joint letter to Chairman Domenici was being circulated for signing by other non-profit groups. It states that the climate title would “in our view create the institutional and legal framework and the political incentives necessary eventually to force Kyoto-style energy rationing on the American people.” The letter will be posted at

“The climate title looks more like a Kerry or Lieberman campaign document than something produced by a Republican committee staff. If this title is enacted, we wont need the rest of the energy bill,” said Myron Ebell, director of global warming policy at CEI (and editor of Cooler Heads).

Although committee staff initially spread the word that the Administration supported the climate title, Administration sources denied that they supported it or had been involved in its drafting. In fact, legislating a White House climate czar and office would undo the Bush Administrations decision in 2001 to abolish that Clinton-created office and position.

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