The so called Climate Bill, formally referred to as the American Power Act (read it in PDF), contains a wealth of information that could impact the environment, transportation, offshore drilling, clean coal and so much more. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) presented the bill yesterday with hopes of passing it by the end of the year. Reuters prepared a rundown of some emissions and transportation-related aspects contained in the bill:
  • By 2020, carbon pollution will be reduced by 17 percent compared to 2005 levels. By 2050, an 80 percent reduction is slated.
  • Offshore drilling is encouraged and expansion is expected throughout the mid-Atlantic states.
  • Individual states could reject drilling, but any state that participates would get 37.5 percent of revenues from drilling to put towards protecting its coastline.
  • Large corporations, those that emit more than 25,000 tons of carbon per year, will have until 2016 to reduce emissions coming from production facilities and will receive pollution permits to help offset the costs associated with complying to new standards.
  • The U.S. government will spend $2 billion a year for additional clean coal efforts.
  • Consumers will receive rebates that help alleviate additional costs of moving away from fossil fuels and towards more expensive energy alternatives such as solar and wind power.
  • $54 billion in loan guarantees will be set aside for nuclear power generation.
  • $7 billion will go towards improving mass transit, constructing more efficient highway systems and additional investments in clean vehicle technologies.
  • Incentives will be laid out for converting heavy-duty trucks from petroleum over to natural gas (T. Boone Pickens is happy).
It's unclear right now if the Senate will vote on the bill before the end of the year, given that the congressional schedule is quite full with other issues. Without a huge push from President Obama, the bill may have to wait, even though many Democratic senators would like to see the bill on the floor by the end of July. It's expected that the vote will be a close one and there's no expectations that the bill will pass without modifications. The rest of the world is closely watching the progress of this bill and many nations are expected to follow suit in an international push to put an end to global warming if America leads the way.

[Source: Reuters | Image: Mikael Miettinen - C.C. License 2.0]


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