US Aims to Reduce Emissions: 17% by 2020 & 80% by 2050
President Barack Obama, endorsing the Kerry-Lieberman proposed Climate Change Bill, introduced this week, urged action in Congress. “Now is the time for America to take control of our energy future and jump-start American innovation in clean energy technology that will allow us to create jobs, compete, and win in the global economy.”
By Katie Brandenburg for Houston Chronicle (12 May 2010):
WASHINGTON—Senators Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Kerry, D-Mass., unveiled their long-delayed climate change bill this week and immediately encountered liberal and conservative critics who said the measure was either an energy bailout or a danger to the American economy.
The core of the proposal aimed at global warming would require 7,500 domestic factories and power plants to meet reduced emission targets. The sponsors said their aim was to reduce 2005 levels of carbon pollution by 17 percent in 2020 and by more than 80 percent in 2050.
Kerry hopes it will pass in this congressional session.
“Those who’ve spent years stalling need to understand something: Killing a Senate bill is not the measure of success or victory, because if Congress can’t legislate a solution, the EPA will regulate one,” Kerry said, referring to the Environmental Protection Agency. “And it will come without the help to America’s businesses and consumers that is in this bill.”
President Barack Obama, endorsing the Kerry-Lieberman proposal, urged action in Congress. “Now is the time for America to take control of our energy future and jump-start American innovation in clean energy technology that will allow us to create jobs, compete, and win in the global economy,” he said.
The senators’ bill differs dramatically from House-approved climate-change legislation that would impose an economy-wide “cap-and-trade” program forcing manufacturers, utilities and other polluters to purchase emission allowances in order to comply with tighter limits on carbon dioxide.
The bill would also:
• • Encourage states to allow offshore oil drilling with plans for revenue sharing that would allocate 37.5 percent of revenues from drilling going to states and 12.5 percent going to state and federal programs under the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It would also allow a state to bar drilling within 75 miles of its coastline.
• • Prevent states from implementing or enforcing their own “cap-and-trade” programs.
• • Create a program to help low-income families pay higher energy costs brought on by the bill.
• • Invest more than $6 billion a year to improve transportation and highways on the theory that it will increase the travel efficiency and decrease emissions.
Marvin Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute said drafting of the bill was a “very collaborative, very open, very involved process.”
Some energy companies, including Shell and ConocoPhillips, issued statements supporting the bill, while representatives from the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation attended the bill rollout to support the legislation.
But the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association criticized the measure and contended that it would lead to steep increases in energy bills for families and businesses.
Phil Radford, the executive director of Greenpeace, criticized the measure for encouraging offshore drilling and called it “largely a dirty energy bailout bill.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had originally signed on with Kerry and Lieberman to write a Senate bill but quit the effort last week. He said he was irked that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, wanted to place immigration reform ahead of climate change on the Senate calendar.
In a statement Wednesday, Graham signaled cautious approval of the measure.