Issue Date: October 13, 2008
Key House Members Issue Draft CO2 Bill
Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of a key energy subcommittee, last week released a draft bill cutting carbon dioxide emissions from chemical plants, refineries, power plants, and a host of other emitters. Dingell said 88% of greenhouse gas emissions would be covered by the bill, and CO2 emissions would be cut to 80% of the 2005 levels by 2050. However, the reductions are on a slow initial trajectory: In 2020, emissions would be only 6% below 2005 levels. In a letter to committee members, Dingell and Boucher made clear their view that it is time for action, noting that some 24 state agencies are considering CO2 limits, that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled EPA has authority to regulate CO2, and that CO2 is clearly due to human activity. Although the draft specifies the need for carbon caps, it does not specify exactly how a cap-and-trade system would work. Nor does it spell out how vehicle emissions would be addressed. It does, however, block states from establishing their own program to auction CO2 emissions. The draft is likely to be a starting place next year, when a new president and Congress rejoin climate-change discussions.
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