Two years earlier, the Senate voted 43 to 55 to reject S.139, his previous bill, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003, which would have required all U.S. power plants and industries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG). McCain even bypassed Senator James Inhofe and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee because he believes the GHG issue affects transportation, scientific research and other related issues and should be considered by his committee (Commerce, Science & Transportation).
The McCain-Lieberman legislation would establish a mandatory nationwide cap on emissions of carbon dioxide and other GHGs. Utilities, industries and transportation sources of the major greenhouse gases would have to limit their emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 and 1990 levels by 2016. The bill would establish a trading system allowing utilities and plants with excessive emissions to buy credits from more efficient companies that have reduced emissions beyond their targets. A similar system for sulfur dioxide has operated for years under the Clean Air Act to limit acid rain.