first_imgWASHINGTON – As California swelters through a record heat wave, Golden State Democrats say they are hot to move on global-warming legislation. Bills by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, are intended to increase energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Both lawmakers said they believe global climate change is related to the searing temperatures throughout much of the country, and fears of a connection between weather patterns and global warming are propelling increased debates on energy issues. “The extreme weather we’re seeing all over the country, which in California has taken the form of this unprecedented heat wave, has dramatically raised the profile of both the energy issue and the global-warming problem,” Schiff said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmates“If we want to avoid brownouts and blackouts during this time of extreme weather, we’re going to have to be much more energy-efficient.” Both pieces of legislation face uphill battles in the House as Republican leaders move quickly to challenge global-warming science. A hearing today will, for the second time in as many weeks, question the “hockey stick” graph of global temperatures produced by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. The hearing, led by Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight, stems from its probe into the scientific and financial records of Mann and other climatologists who created the graph. Often referred to as the “hockey stick” model, it shows an increase in average global temperatures over the millennium. Meanwhile, House Resources Committee spokesman Brian Kennedy noted that the panel’s chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Stockton, is a “skeptic” about global warming. “I think there is a consensus that the Earth is in a warming trend, but there is no consensus whatsoever in the minds of the Congress as to what the correlation is” to greenhouse gas emissions, Kennedy said. Waxman’s bill, the Safe Climate Act of 2006, freezes emissions levels in 2010, reducing them 2 percent each year for the next decade. After 2020, emissions would be reduced 5 percent each year through 2050. To do that, he proposes a cap-and-trade program through which big polluters, such as electric utilities, would be allowed to meet emissions targets by buying and selling allowances. The bill is co-sponsored in the Senate by Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and 31 House Democrats, including Schiff and Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte. “I think people all around the country are experiencing record heat, and it’s hard not to think it’s related to global warming,” Waxman said, calling his legislation a “vigorous approach” that uses market forces to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Schiff, meanwhile, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others this week in introducing a major energy-independence bill. The legislation establishes a national energy security commission; a vehicle-efficiency consortium; a biofuel development program; and encourages fuel efficiency in government-purchased vehicles. Sen. Barbara Boxer also called this week on the Department of Transportation to ensure that the federal fleet is fuel-efficient. Last year, she noted, the average fuel economy for the 64,000 passenger vehicles purchased by the federal government was 21.4 miles per gallon. [email protected] (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img