US Senator introduces alternative climate change bill
US Republican Senator Richard Lugar yesterday introduced an alternative climate change bill that would reduce the country’s dependence on oil but would limit emissions by less than the target of 17% agreed in the Copenhagen Accord.
The bill does not, however, include provisions for a cap-and-trade market for emissions permits unlike the American Power Act proposed by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.
The proposal has received a limited welcome from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who wrote in a letter to Senator Lugar:
“I appreciate your ideas for reducing America's oil dependence… [and] I also commend your focus on energy efficiency.”
However, Secretary Chu adds that he believes that “comprehensive legislation” is needed to put a price on carbon and support all types of clean energy.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has gone further, criticising the proposals for failing on all fronts to address the country’s energy challenges.
The organisation’s analysis of the proposals indicate that they would cut emissions by only 9% on 2005 levels by 2017 and would not secure new near term renewable energy development.
In the meantime, however, the Senate is due to vote today on whether to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, which will be key in the future of both Lugar and Kerry’s bills.