On Wednesday, John Kerry (D-Mass) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) introduced a long-awaited energy and climate change bill to the U.S. Senate. The bill aims to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050. To achieve these reductions, a cap and trade program would be created. The bill will establish a price floor of $12/ton and a cap of $25/ton, both to be adjusted annually by inflation. Initially the regulations would only apply to the electric generation industry, with transportation and industrial sectors to be phased in starting in 2016. Additional incentives and funding are also provided for new nuclear development, clean coal technologies and carbon sequestration research and development. Notably absent from the draft is a federal renewable portfolio standard, which was expected by many to be included in the legislation.
The proposed Kerry-Lieberman bill is expected to undergo considerable revision in the Senate, and the prospects for its passage this year are uncertain in an election year with other pressing issues from immigration to the Greek debt crisis also vying for attention in the capital.