Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) are scheduled to formally unveil on Wednesday a compromise U.S. climate change bill they want passed this year.
Besides bringing down emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, it would expand offshore oil drilling and nuclear-power production in a move to appeal to a broader number of senators.
Here are highlights of the bill, called the “American Power Act,” according to a summary of the legislation being circulated to senators and obtained by Reuters:
Carbon emissions reductions
By 2020, carbon pollution would be cut by 17 percent from 2005 levels. By 2050, a reduction of more than 80 percent would be achieved. These are the same goals included in the climate bill passed by the House of Representatives in June. The short-term goal is slightly less than the 20 percent cut approved in November by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The summary did not specify, but sources have said the carbon-reduction requirements on utilities would begin in 2013.
Carbon price collar
Carbon prices would rise at a fixed rate over inflation. Initially, floor and ceiling prices for carbon pollution permits required of electric utilities would be set at $12-$25. The floor would increase at 3 percent annually over inflation and the ceiling at 5 percent annually over inflation.
In the event of unusually high carbon prices, a strategic reserve would ensure the availability of “price-certain allowances.”
Backers aren’t calling it “cap and trade,” but in practice, that is what it appears to be.