Key U.S. lawmakers on Friday defended their plans to establish a system capping greenhouse gas emissions, disputing attacks from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin that climate change legislation in Congress would destroy jobs and hurt the economy.
In an op-ed article in Friday's Washington Post, Democratic senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry argued that the climate change legislation they are crafting in the Senate will "create millions of jobs in America" by promoting the production of clean energy.
Boxer and Kerry were responding to an op-ed that ran last week from Palin, a conservative governor and former vice presidential candidate. Palin blasted the energy proposals of Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration.
"I am deeply concerned about President Obama's cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy," she said.
In June the House narrowly passed a bill aimed at addressing global warming that would require companies to acquire permits for the carbon emissions they spew into the atmosphere. The House bill would mandate a 17 percent cut in emissions below 2005 levels by 2020.
The Senate is expected to unveil similar legislation sponsored by Boxer and Kerry in September.
Saying they wanted to "put facts ahead of fiction and real debate ahead of rhetorical bomb-throwing," the Senators said their bill would not only "jump-start our economy," but also reduce U.S. imports of crude oil.
"Our nation's approach to energy must be balanced and must provide incentives for all the available clean energy sources to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil," they said.
The Senators also pushed back on Palin's calls to increase domestic oil production.
"She ignores the fact that the United States has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, while we are responsible for 25 percent of the world's oil consumption," the op-ed said.
With the economy lagging, the financial impact of climate change legislation has become a key point of contention in the debate over how to address global warming.
Democratic supporters of cap and trade say it will spur innovation and create jobs that can not be outsourced, while detractors say it will burden businesses and consumers with higher energy costs and send jobs overseas.