Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and John Kerry, D-Mass., have issued their version of climate change legislation. Like the House-passed bill - the proposal favors a cap-and-trade system. The vast majority of allowances would be given away for a transition period of 20 years to ease burdens on energy-intensive industries and consumers in states relying heavily on coal for electricity. But when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions - the Senate draft is more ambitious than the House measure. They want emissions reduced to a level 20% below 2005 emissions by 2020 compared to 17% sought by the House this summer. The Senate draft goes to the full Senate Environment Committee Tuesday.
Chairwoman Boxer hopes to mark up the bill and have her panel vote as soon as next week. But Republicans are threatening to block a vote if they aren't satisfied with the time they've had to review the text. Ranking Member James Inhofe, R-Okla.. said the seven Republicans on the committee also want an adequate economic study from the Environmental Protection Agency. In a short analysis released Friday the EPA said the Senate version would have a similar estimated economic impact as the House bill, which was estimated to cost the average household 22 to 30 cents per day - or $80 to $111 per year. As for farmers, EPA estimates they could reap $1.2 to $18 billion in annual benefits.
In a speech Friday President Obama challenged Congress to pass a climate change bill. He said it could transform the nation's energy system into something more efficient, clean and independent making the best use of abundant resources like clean coal technology, safe nuclear power, sustainably grown biofuels and energy from the wind, waves and sun.