Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

One sign that the United States Senate is getting serious about crafting domestic climate policy is the interest in the issue shown by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R - New Mexico) and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D - New Mexico). The Committee conducts legislative activity in areas such as energy resources and development, including regulation, conservation, strategic petroleum reserves and appliance standards; nuclear energy; and public lands and their renewable resources. Recently the Committee has been active on the issue of climate change.

In June 2005, Bingaman filed legislation embodying a recommendation by the multi-stakeholder National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) for a mandatory program that would allow greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to continue to rise, though at a slower pace than otherwise projected. Domenici, among others, publicly expressed interest in the measure, though was not then prepared to support it. Consequently, Bingaman chose not to offer it. Instead, with Domenici’s support, Bingaman offered a nonbinding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that human-caused GHGs are causing temperatures to rise, and that Congress should enact a national mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of these emissions. After the resolution was supported by a strong majority of 53 - 44, Domenici announced his intention to hold a series of hearings on the Bingaman-NCEP proposal. The committee held its hearings on climate science and economics later in 2005.

In early 2006, the Committee issued a white paper on Design Elements of a Mandatory Market-Based Greenhouse Gas Regulatory System. Read the Center's response to this white paper.