Democratic Senator Wants to Cap Carbon Emmissions to Stop Global Warming, But Drives Cadillac to Work

By Edwin Mora | May 20, 2009 | 8:27 PM EDT

2009 Cadillac STS (Promotional photo courtesy of GM/Cadillac)

On the Spot ( – Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) supports government efforts to cap U.S. carbon emissions in the cause of controlling global warming.
“I think it’s part of a larger clean-up,” Stabenow told “We need a strategy for low carbon, yes.”
But Stabenow admits she doesn’t take public transportation to work, she drives to Capitol Hill.
“I drive a Cadillac STS, it’s a small car,” she added.
The STS averages 16 miles per gallon in the city, 26 miles per gallon highway, according to General Motors and joint Web site of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Stabenow, who represents Michigan, the home of the American automobile industry, said she thinks that people who support a limit on carbon emissions should drive American fuel-efficient cars.

“I want people to support American fuel-efficient vehicles,” she told
Stabenow is not alone in the Senate in owning a Cadillac--so does Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
“I drive to work. I have a medium-size Cadillac and it operates well,” he added.
The New Jersey Democrat, however, said he’s not ready to say he would support a law capping carbon emmissions.
“I think that’s (carbon limits) a hard thing to impose,” he told  “I’m not prepared to say whether or not we should cap carbon emissions.”
But Lautenberg also said he doesn’t believe that most of his Senate colleagues use fuel-efficient means to get to the Capitol.
“I think it is rare among these people. I don’t see people suddenly switching to fuel-efficient cars, if their current car is running well,” he told

Lautenberg added that if finding alternative forms of energy would reduce carbon in the atmosphere, than that would be worth pursuing, adding “but putting a limit I don’t think so.”
Most other senators surveyed, however, told they believe the U.S. should cap carbon emissions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions--and they also said they use fuel-efficient means to get to work.
“Oh sure, yes. We should cap and divide (carbon emissions),” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said. “Give a dividend to help the people at the lower end of the scale.”

Udall explained that if time permits he walks to work, otherwise he drives a low-carbon emitting car.

“I walk. I live here right on the Hill and sometimes, when I’m in a real hurry, I’ll drive,” Udall told “I have a little fuel-efficient car, but I try to walk as much as I can.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also said he drives a fuel-efficient vehicle to work--and believes the U.S. should make an effort to control carbon emissions.

“I think there should be an attempt to control the growth of carbon emissions,” the Indiana senator told

Lugar drives a Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle that runs on both electricity and fuel, and averages 45 miles per gallon in highway driving, 48 miles per gallon in the city.
“I’ve had the Prius for four years,” Lugar told “I’m taking seriously the idea of using less oil and attempting to get higher mileage.”

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), meanwhile, said he “absolutely” wants to see the U.S. cap carbon emissions.

The Maryland senator, however, said he usually drives a car to work, although he sometimes takes public transit or carpools.

“I usually drive, there are times when I do take public transportation, there are times when I car pool,” he told  “I try to be as gentle as I possibly can.”
“I do walk a lot. I do bicycle,” he added. “So, I try to do things that are more environmentally friendly in my own right. I think we all could do more.”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee began discussing the Democrats’ climate-change legislation this week, known officially as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
The legislation, which was introduced March 31, includes a cap-and-trade proposal, which is aimed at reducing greenhouse emission by placing a cap on carbon emissions--and selling off or giving away permits to companies that emit greenhouse gases over their cap.