Politico is reporting that the Climate Bill is in trouble. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733), better known to you and I as the Climate Bill, was originally introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I–CT) at the end of September 2009. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wanted to present a revised bill before the August recess, but, as of early this week, that outcome does not seem realistic. The official overview of the bill reads:
[S.1733] Provides for the establishment of a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances and sets goals of reducing U.S. emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 83% by 2050.
It further would set forth numerous climate and environmental provisions, available here.
It appears the big holdup for now surrounds the proposed mandatory limit, or cap on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions coming from power plants. Major utility companies have been meeting with the Obama Administration, as well as with Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, in recent days, in an effort to reach a compromise. At one point, the bill was to limit emissions coming from not only power plants, but from manufacturing and transportation fuels as well. That was phased out. However, utility companies are now asking to bring it back. Utility executives are further asking for more time to negotiate a utility-only cap with lawmakers. Additionally, executives are asking for exemption from several provisions contained in the EPA’s Clean Air Act dealing with smog, soot, and mercury.
“That’s a tough one,” Lieberman said. The utilities “frame it in a different way. They just want a breather. And not an eternal pre-emption. These are all topics of negotiation. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing here.” (Politico)
Environmental groups are also weighing in.
Fifty-seven businesses, environmental organizations and other groups say an energy efficiency mandate for utilities is “low-hanging fruit” that would create jobs and lower the nation’s energy bill by $100 billion, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need for expanded electricity infrastructure. (The Hill)
Details are still being hammered out, but do you think a utility-only cap would be a step in the right direction towards curbing global climate change? Should the oil and natural gas companies be a part of this legislation?