Ending some nine months of closed-door deliberations, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) will release global warming legislation Wednesday that they hope will be the vehicle for broader Senate negotiations and an eventual conference with the House.
The bill’s authors said last week that they expect to start hearings early next month on the bill, with a markup in Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee to follow soon thereafter. They also acknowledged that their legislation is just a “starting point” in a bid to win over moderate and conservative Democrats, as well as Republicans.
“I hope what we’ve done is constructive and well-received,” Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday. “I have no pretensions, and neither does Barbara, that this will be the final product. It is a starting point, a commitment, full-fledged, across party lines to do what we need to do to protect the planet for the next century.”
The Boxer-Kerry bill will build in large part off H.R. 2454 (pdf), legislation approved in June by the House following several marathon months of negotiations that involved lawmakers representing coastal and industry-heavy districts. Exactly what is the same in the two bills remains to be seen. As for differences, Senate Democratic aides say they expect the legislation to divert from the House bill’s 17 percent emissions target for 2020 and go with an even more aggressive 20 percent limit. The bill also will stay silent on exactly how the Senate should divide up emission allowances.
At least five other Senate committees are also expected to contribute to the climate debate. The Foreign Relations and Agriculture committees are preparing language without convening a markup.
Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said he will hold votes on his pieces of the global warming bill. And the same goes for Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who last week told reporters that provisions on international trade and the allocation of emission allowances would be marked up provided Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the bill is “clearly moving.”
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has already approved legislation (S. 1462 (pdf)) out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that includes a nationwide renewable electricity standard and a raft of other energy incentives, including a provision that could bring oil and gas rigs closer to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Bingaman is also planning a hearing Thursday on several competing cost estimates associated with the House-passed climate bill. The session, which was postponed once earlier this month, now gives senators an early public forum to sound off on the Boxer-Kerry bill.
Already last week, several Democratic senators working outside of the Boxer-Kerry camp said their ideas would be melded into the legislation at a later date. “It’s going to need a lot of work,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
Kerry last week sought to change the vernacular surrounding the climate bill and sell its concepts more broadly, insisting it is not a “cap and trade” proposal but a “pollution reduction” bill. “I don’t know what ‘cap and trade’ means. I don’t think the average American does,” Kerry said. “This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it’s a pollution reduction bill”
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By DARREN SAMUELSOHN of ClimateWire
Published: September 28, 2009
Face Fwd Comments:
No one has ever explained to me how this legislation is going to stop emissions. However, it is pretty easy to see how this little scheme is going to earn the government as well as cap and trade companies millions.
John Kerry, if you are reading I will explain Cap and Trade. One company is considered greener than another and they get carbon credits that they can either apply to a tax bill or sell to another company that has high carbon emissions. The low emissions company uses a third party broker like, Generation Investment Management, which is Al Gore’s company, to sell emission credits to the higher carbon emitting company. They use those to offset their emissions and avoid EPA fines. The low emitting company makes a few bucks, the broker makes a commission, the big carbon company legalizes their pollution while avoiding fines and cleaning up their act, and the government gets to tax everyone. Same amount of pollution (although carbon is not really a pollution), however now the government gets a slice of the action and Al Gore opens a Panama Bank account.
I know what everyone is thinking…..that doesn’t impact me, I don’t have carbon emissions only businesses have that. Sorry, you are wrong. Actually, carbon is what we exhale when we breath so technically, you are a polluter according to this new legislation. And while that illustration may be a bit ridiculous, consider that every time you heat or cool your home, drive to work, or take the elevator to your floor you could be charged for carbon emissions. Certainly the companies that are providing you the energy and fuel to complete your daily task will be charged. To whom do you think they will pass that? You guessed it, you.
So you see, Cap and Trade is not about saving the world, stopping polluters, breeding baby pandas, or even cleaning up waste sites. Nope! It’s about making money for the IRS and the people that are to be given (political insiders) the Carbon Trading Franchises to be awarded by the government.