House Democrats release climate and energy legislation

Includes a cap and trade system and requires a 20 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020

House Democrats release climate and energy legislationRemember Henry Waxman, the congressman who wanted to ban the US government and military from purchasing oil sands oil? He is now the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has co-authored and today released a draft of the Democrats’ new climate and energy legislation. You can read the text on the committee’s web page.

The draft legislation includes a cap-and-trade system and requires the US to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020. American utilities will have to source one quarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The draft legislation does not answer the key question of whether industry will have to buy carbon permits or whether some will be given to them for free. That will be up to the committee to decide.

Reuters also reports that the legislation would “give industry ‘rebates’ so U.S. firms can remain competitive with overseas companies.” I haven’t seen an analysis yet of how this proposal affects Canadian producers or renewable and non-renewable energy.

Hearings on the proposed law begin the week of April 20th. House leaders tell the NYTimes that they hope to pass the law by fall. Given high economic stakes involved at a time of recession (and regional interests that cut across party lines) that sounds a tad optimistic.

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