The long-awaited latest – and perhaps final – draft of the US energy and climate change bill was unveiled yesterday by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.
But the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says the proposal does much less for energy efficiency than previous major climate change bills.
“The compromise Kerry-Lieberman proposal misses out on a key opportunity to address the cost of curbing climate change by including little on energy efficiency - the first, best, and least-cost carbon-reduction opportunity,” says a statement from the ACEEE.
The proposed legislation is fundamentally different from previous energy and climate change bills, said Senator Lieberman.
As expected, the American Power Act, would commit the US to cutting carbon emissions by 17% on 2005 levels by 2020, with subsequent targets of 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050.
In a nod to industry, emission restrictions will not be imposed onto energy intensive industries until 2016, with power plants being regulated first. Energy intensive industries would also receive allowances to offset their compliance costs, under the proposals.
The legislation would require the purchase of carbon permits, but would end individual state-wide cap-and-trade systems.
The proposals also include a floor price of carbon of $12 and a ceiling price of $25, with a 3% annual inflationary increase.
Kerry and Lieberman’s bill also backs new nuclear power, advanced vehicles, carbon capture and storage and more funds for clean energy research.
Controversially, offshore drilling in included in the bill, but with a clause allowing coastal states to opt out of drilling less than 75 miles offshore or if they “stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident”.
“The American Power Act will finally change our nation’s energy policy from a national weakness to a national strength,” said Senator Kerry.
The Senators are now confident that they have the necessary 60 votes to pass the bill.
“Now we’re asking this Senate to hold a debate and insist on a vote again, with a fundamentally new policy approach that should secure bi-partisan support,” he said. “This is the time.”
For further information:
US climate change bill to be unveiled tomorrow (11-May)
13 May 2010