to address climate change in his second term, leading Democrats are
pushing for comprehensive climate legislation. In his State of the
Union address President Obama called on Congress to pass a
“market-based” climate measure and then promised to
exercise his executive authority if lawmakers fail to act. On
Valentines Day, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) indicated that she
hopes to bring climate legislation to floor by the summer of 2013.
“We’re going to go in earnest to this topic and this bill,”
she said. As the Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman
Boxer stated her intent to bring a comprehensive climate bill to a
vote within the next few months.
Sanders (I-Vt.) and would put a price on carbon emissions. Boxer
called the bill “the gold standard” for climate legislation.
on climate change, as Sanders noted, “We will never fully deal with
this crisis until Congress passes strong legislation.”
emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. A carbon fee
contained in the bill would generate $1.2 trillion in the next
decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Protection Act, would impose a fee of $20 per ton of carbon in the
first calendar year after the bill is signed into law. The fee would
rise 5.6 percent per year over the next decade.
by returning 60 percent of the revenues generated by the largest
fossil fuel companies to citizens under what is being called the
Family Clean Energy Rebate Program. The remainder of the revenus
generated would grow renewable energy, energy efficiency, job
training programs and R&D.
eliminate tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.
implications for fracking as it would require the gas drilling
industry to disclose the chemicals they use. The bill would allow the
Environmental Protection Agency to regulate fracking under the Safe
Drinking Water Act.
stringent regulations are sure to follow. While some business leaders
can be expected to vociferously resist the bill, others may embrace
the predictability it will provide.
provisions to minimize the effects of energy cost increases on
consumers, it is very doubtful that the bill will be able to secure
any support from the GOP. Republicans and some centrist Democrats
have thwarted climate change legislation during the President’s first
term and can be expected to do so again.
behind her, Boxer added: “If they don’t, these folks are going to
take them to court.”
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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