US Congress to consider major climate change bill


From Politico: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will roll the dice on a top priority this week, bringing a contentious climate change bill to the floor despite strong misgivings from her rank-and-file and an outspoken chairman who remains a major impediment. Read the full story here

From the NYT: House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill  clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it…Perhaps the biggest modification in the new version involves language sought by the nation’s rural electric cooperatives that gives the country’s smallest power utilities a free 0.5 percent slice of the cap-and-trade program’s valuable emission allowances…Democrats are still not done wheeling and dealing as they gear up for a floor debate, with critical issues still unresolved on everything from biofuels to which federal agency — U.S. EPA or the Agriculture Department — will have lead oversight of the offset program that would pay for environmentally friendly land management practices.  Read the full NYT article here.

One thing I like about the draft bill is it’s realist view of the value of biofuels. Accurately accounting for the true carbon footprint of biofuels has become a major sticking point for the bill, with farm state representatives arguing for restricting the EPAs authority:

From the NYT – the bill as posted does not restrict EPA’s authority to weigh “indirect” emissions from land-use changes when calculating the carbon footprint of biofuels. The issue is important because under a 2007 expansion of the renewable fuels standard, biofuels must have, to varying degrees, lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels.

NGOs are cautiously supportive of the bill.  Lou Leonard, Director of U.S. Climate Policy for World Wildlife Fund, said “Passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act through the Energy and Commerce Committee today marks a watershed moment in the decades-long battle to protect our planet from dangerous climate change and all of the economic, environmental and national security vulnerabilities it presents.” but noted ” I remain concerned that the legislation falls far short of what is needed for international clean technology cooperation and international adaptation assistance. Unless strengthened, this bill could undermine the President’s ability to secure an effective international agreement during climate negotiations in Copenhagen this fall.  See the full WWF statement on the bill here

Download the bill as a PDF here

UPDATE: Democrats have reached an agreement with farm state republicans, setting the stage for a vote on the bill, expected Friday. Read the full story here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *