US Senate to mull carbon cap & trade proposal

02 August 2007 23:16  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--A bipartisan US Senate measure to mandate a carbon cap-and-trade system on US refiners, chemical producers and other manufacturers was unveiled on Thursday but was quickly condemned by a key Senate leader.


Senators Joseph Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut) and John Warner (Republican-Virginia) announced the framework for a carbon emissions control bill they expect to formally introduce in the third quarter this year.


The framework calls for a mandatory, market-based cap-and-trade programme that by 2012 would reduce US greenhouse gas emissions to this year’s level and to 20% below this year’s level by 2020. The two senators said that by 2050 their plan would have US emissions of greenhouse gases at 70% below this year’s total.


“We have the bipartisan momentum to ensure that, this fall, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will report a strong, mandatory climate bill to the full Senate for the first time in US history,” Lieberman said.


Warner said he sees the issue of global climate change as a matter of national security.


The legislative framework said that the “America’s Climate Security Act of 2007” will be based on the argument that “global warming poses a significant threat to US national security, the US economy, public health and welfare in the US, the well being of other nations and the global environment”.


The two senators said their measure would “avert catastrophic impacts of global climate change … while preserving robust growth in the US economy and avoiding the imposition of hardship on US citizens”.


However, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Environment Committee that will have to approve the Lieberman-Warner bill, condemned the measure.


“The Lieberman-Warner bill will significantly harm the US economy and it fails to mandate reductions from the developing world,” Inhofe said.


“A cap-and-trade mandate will impose the largest tax increase ever on the American people without any measurable climate benefits,” he said.


Inhofe said recent studies by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) support his claim that a mandatory cap-and-trade carbon control system would impose a major financial burden on industry and consumers.


Many but not all US chemical industry representatives oppose a carbon cap plan on grounds it would limit production and raise electric power costs.

By: Joe Kamalick
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