At least once or twice a week global warming is the topic of either a House or Senate hearing, whether it’s political interference with the science, exploring coal sequestration, evaluating CAFE standards, or Al Gore making an appearance.
Momentum is building for climate legislation, but as you can tell from the graph below (from John Larsen at the World Resources Institute), the difference in emissions allowed by various proposals is vast. We need to keep tabs on the legislators to guarantee long-term thinking, as well as short-term.
The latest UK Draft Climate Change Bill sets an admirable example of short-, medium-, and long-term thinking. One cumulative target is set (60% below 1990 levels by 2050) and a handful of 5-year budgeting periods are used to incrementally step emissions down.
For summaries and analyses of legislation proposed in our own Congress, there are several resources available. Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Guide, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s summary of Senate cap-and-trade pieces, and bill-specific analyses by the National Resources Defence Council, in addition an assortment from Resources For the Future – including their most recent and comprehensive comparison and analysis.