The Lugar-Biden Climate Change Resolution (Senate Resolution 312)

On May 23, 2006, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed S. Res. 312, a “sense of the Senate” resolution calling for U.S. participation in negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to establish mitigation commitments for all countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases.  The resolution was introduced by Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), the committee's chairman, and Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-Delaware), the committee's ranking minority member. 

The resolution passed by voice vote.  Four Senators asked to be recorded as opposed to the resolution: Senators Allen (R-Virginia), Coleman (R-Minnesota), Martinez (R-Florida), and Sununu (R-New Hampshire).  The nine other Senators in attendance were Chairman Lugar (R-Indiana) and Senators Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chafee (R-Rhode Island), Dodd (D-Connecticut), Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Hagel (R-Nebraska), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Obama (D-Illinois) and Sarbanes (D-Maryland).

Senators Lugar and Biden announced the introduction of their resolution at a event in November 2005 releasing the report of the Center's Climate Dialogue at Pocantico.  The Pocantico dialogue brought together 25 senior policymakers and stakeholders from 15 countries to recommend approaches for advancing the international climate effort beyond 2012.  The group's report can be seen here.

In a speech before the U.N. Security Council in February 2006, Senator Lugar stressed the need for U.S. leadership on climate change and cited the Pocantico report as a roadmap toward a comprehensive international approach.  Senator Lugar's remarks can be viewed here.

The resolution approved by the Committee reads in part:

“[B]e it Resolved,   That it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should act to reduce the health, environmental, economic, and national security risks posed by global climate change and foster sustained economic growth through a new generation of technologies, by--

(1) participating in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, done at New York May 9, 1992, and entered into force in 1994, and leading efforts in other international fora, with the objective of securing United States participation in agreements that--

(A) advance and protect the economic and national security interests of the United States;

(B) establish mitigation commitments by all countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases, consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities;

(C) establish flexible international mechanisms to minimize the cost of efforts by participating countries; and

(D) achieve a significant long-term reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions; and

(2) establishing a bipartisan Senate observer group, the members of which shall be designated by the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, to--

(A) monitor any international negotiations on climate change; and

(B) 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.”