WARMING: Climate change bill puts senators on the hot seat
Detroit Free Press
At high altitudes and at both poles, ice is melting at
rates that amaze most observers. Even the diehard anti-global
warming crowd seems to accept that climate change is occurring,
although they often argue it's a) a natural process, b)
probably beneficial and c) more expensive to avert than
So when the U.S. Senate takes up the subject in a debate
scheduled to begin today, the reasons spouted to avoid
action may be the most revealing. The idea that warming
has benefits may be a particularly tough sell to Michiganders
already disturbed by what happens when the Great Lakes
drop near historic lows.
The relatively mild bill spurring the debate would set
up a U.S. cap-and-trade market in greenhouse gases such
as carbon dioxide; companies with fewer emissions than
their cap could sell credits to companies with bigger
emissions. The goal: returning to 2000 levels by 2010,
and then ratcheting back gradually from there. An independent
study has the cost to consumers reaching just $15-$20
a year by 2015.
Europe is starting this kind of market, and global firms
ought to have a U.S. tie-in. A market also appeals to
farmers, who can create credits to sell industries, as
a balance to their emissions, by planting crops to absorb
No one expects the bill to pass, but each senator's vote
and logic are of great interest to constituents. Sen.
Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, plans to vote for the bill,
with the future of the Great Lakes in mind. Sen. Carl
Levin, D-Detroit, is reviewing the most recent draft;
he, too, needs to think about water, in the lakes and
flowing off glaciers.