Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Senate Finally to Introduce Climate Bill

"A climate bill being introduced Wednesday in the U.S. Senate would impose deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The chamber's slow deliberative process, however, makes it unlikely that the United States will have a bill and firm reduction target to present at a world environment conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in just over two months.

The bill faces extended debate and revisions in the Senate, and even if passed before the Dec. 7-18 Copenhagen conference, differences between the Senate version and the bill already passed by Congress' other chamber, the House of Representatives, will have to be reconciled in still more contentious bargaining.

President Barack Obama has made global warming legislation a priority goal of his first term, ranking close to an overhaul of the U.S. health care system as must-do work. The United States opted out of the current agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions, signed in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997.

Based on the House bill and the coming Senate bill, a draft of which was obtained by The Associated Press, the United States will continue to fall far short of expectations of most other developed countries.

The Senate draft specifies a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions beginning in three years, to be tightened annually so that emissions would be 20 percent lower in 2020 than they were in 2005. Emissions would have to be 83 percent lower by 2050. While the long-term cuts are the same as required by the House in June, the Senate bill would require a faster early ramp-up, which many in industry had wanted to avoid. The House would establish a 17 percent emission cut by 2020. Obama originally had sought a cut of only 14 percent."

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