Boxer, Kerry Restart Climate, Energy Debate With New Senate Bill
Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts today introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, a proposal that calls for reducing carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by mid-century. The bill seeks to achieve those goals with significant public investment in clean energy research, generating electricity from natural gas and nuclear power, and proving whether carbon capture and storage for coal-burning power plants really works. Among the other trend-setting ideas in the proposal is a plan to seek 75 percent of the carbon reductions from 7,500 industrial facilities, and another plan to reform the American transportation system to encourage more use of public transit, walking, biking, and other low-carbon activities. Taken together, the Boxer-Kerry proposal has the potential to remake the American economy and transform the design of U.S. communities to make them more energy efficient, and much cleaner and greener.
The sweeping proposal embraces much of the language from a bill which passed the House in June, but differs by offering faster, deeper requirements for cutting carbon emissions.
The Senate bill comes on the heels of the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 26, 2009, dealing a major blow to the old energy dynasty. That was the first time a U.S. Chamber of Congress has ever passed a bill to set mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. The American Clean Energy and Security Act passed the House 219-212; 211 Democrats and 8 Republicans supported the bill.
The House bill includes a cap-and-trade system and a national renewable electricity standard, a portion of which can be met through efficiency measures. Also included is funding for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), low-income consumer protection, transition assistance for industry and funding for adaptation, clean technology development and avoided deforestation in developing countries. The recently released Senate bill also includes a cap and trade system which will reduce emissions both domestically and through international forest protection. The bill includes incentives for clean transportation, efficiency, nuclear and CCS technology while seeking to promote green jobs, worker transition and help ecosystems and communities at home and abroad adapt to the consequences of climate change.
Congress must act to curb global warming. As they moves through the legislative process Congress must build on this foundation and pass a final bill that includes science-based emission targets, ensures clean energy production, cleans up old, dirty power plants and builds resiliency to climate change here and around the world. Comprehensive climate and energy policies will deliver the solutions our nation needs to increase our national security, jumpstart our economy, and safeguard our planet for future generations.