Sen. Sanders, after US hits heat record, floats new climate bill

“After the hottest year on record and extreme weather disturbances such as Hurricane Sandy, we must take strong action to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” said Sanders, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I intend to introduce legislation in the Senate to do just that.”

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Cap-and-trade legislation collapsed on Capitol Hill in 2010, and political prospects for new measures to cap or tax emissions face extremely grim prospects.

But the record heat and violent weather is nonetheless leading Democrats to seek the political offensive on climate change.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently said she’s establishing an ad-hoc “climate change clearinghouse” with two other Senate committee chairmen that will promote administrative action and legislation.

Environmentalists are pressing President Obama to take tougher steps using his administrative powers, including establishment of first-time carbon emissions standards for existing power plants.

Sanders' plan also aims to boost green energy development and nix tax incentives for oil companies.

“It will call for an historic investment in efficiency, sustainable energy, advanced transportation infrastructure, and clean energy research and development. The measure also would end fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks,” his office said.