FACTSHEET: S.Res.30 - A Critical First Step to Solving Climate Change
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S.Res.30 was introduced by
Senator Biden, on January 16, 2007 and originally co-sponsored by Senators
Lugar, Bingaman, Boxer, Feingold, Lieberman and Snowe. The resolution calls for U.S. participation
in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), leading to agreements that will commit all major emitters of
greenhouse gases - developed and developing - to achieve significant long-term
reductions in those emissions. The
resolution, which also calls for a bipartisan Senate observer group to monitor these
negotiations, was reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on
March 29, 2007. At the 2007 G8 summit, President Bush committed to working
through the United Nations to negotiate a new international climate agreement
by 2009. He has called for the U.S.
to be, "actively involved -- if not
taking the lead -- in a post-Kyoto framework." He needs the Senate's support to make
good on this commitment.
A critical first step towards an effective international response to
global climate change:
The U.S. Senate's perceived opposition to U.S.
participation in international climate agreements has become an obstacle to the
The Biden-Lugar resolution removes this obstacle
by calling for U.S. participation in negotiations under the U.N. Framework
Convention on Climate Change, and the exercise of U.S. leadership in other
venues in order to "secure[e] United States participation in binding agreements
Advance and protect the economic and national
security interests of the United
Establish mitigation commitments by all
countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases, consistent with the
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities
Establish flexible international mechanisms to
minimize the cost of efforts by participating countries
Achieve a significant long-term reduction in
global greenhouse gas emissions" [S.Res.30]
S.Res.30 ensures the Senate's ability to
exercise its oversight responsibilities in climate negotiations by
"establishing a bipartisan Senate observer group to:
Monitor any international negotiations on
Ensure that the advice and consent function of
the Senate is exercised in a manner to facilitate timely consideration of any
applicable treaty submitted to the Senate" [S.Res.30]
S.Res.30 calls for all major emitting countries
to participate in international climate agreements.
poses a real and growing risk to the national and economic security of the United States:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), representing
international scientific consensus, recently concluded that global warming is
"unequivocal," and that there is an overwhelming (>90%) likelihood that human
activities are responsible for the temperature increase. [IPCC Fourth
Without action, earth's temperature will rise between 2.5 and
4°Celsius over the next century, dwarfing the 0.5°C rise during the 20th
century. [IPCC Fourth Assesment]
This could "create risks of major disruption to
economic and social activity... on a scale similar to those associated with the
great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th
century." [Sir Nicholas Stern]
The time for solutions has arrived:
"There was a time when we could plead ignorance. That day is past. The science is now clear. There was a time when we might have claimed
the cost of changing our ways was too great.
That day is past. We now know the
costs of inaction are unacceptably high."[Senator Biden]
There is no time to waste:
Avoiding a rise in global average temperature larger than 2°C is
critical in order to avoid crossing a climate "tipping point" that could lead
to uncontrolled warming.
The window of opportunity in which to curb global greenhouse
emissions and avoid the most devastating effects of climate change is rapidly
"There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,
if we act now and act internationally.
But the task is urgent. Delaying
action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory." [Sir
The only effective solutions are international solutions: Effective action to prevent climate change requires the
participation of all major greenhouse gas emitters, including developing
countries. Developing countries'
emissions are growing rapidly, and China
is set to pass the U.S.
as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2009 [International
should exercise its leadership in marshalling an effective international response
to this historic challenge:
Climate change cannot be overcome by any one nation alone, and
without the U.S.
it may not be overcome at all. Without U.S.
participation, the effectiveness of international climate change agreements
will remain limited.
leadership can bring developing country emitters to the table. Without U.S. involvement, these countries
are unlikely to agree to
limit their emissions.
"It is now clear that our inaction reduces the
effectiveness of international efforts to address climate change, and provides
an excuse for China, India, Mexico,
and other leading emitters of the future to stay with us on the sidelines."
"It is critical that the international dialogue
on climate change and American participation in those discussions move beyond
the disputes over the Kyoto Protocols.
We need to include India,
and other developing nations in a dynamic dialogue, and recognize that a one-size-fits-all
approach is not workable." [Senator Lugar]
Active participation in climate negotiations is
the best way to ensure that the costs and benefits of stopping global warming
are shared equitably
It's time for the U.S.
to get back in the game:
This is a critical time for
climate negotiations. The current
international agreement governing greenhouse gas emissions - the Kyoto Protocol
- expires in 2012. Negotiations are
underway that will determine the shape of future international climate agreements. The U.S. needs to be strongly engaged
in these negotiations, but the Senate's perceived opposition hampers its
ability to negotiate successfully. By sending
a positive signal to the international community that the U.S. is ready to participate in binding
agreements, S.Res.30 strengthens the United States' ability to negotiate
fair and effective agreements.
For more information on this paper, contact Citizens for Global Solutions at 202-546-3950
Updated July 23, 2008