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Boxer-Kerry Bill Debuts

October 1, 2009

Senators John Kerry and my Barbara Boxer have introduced their climate bill – named Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act – into the Senate and Brad Plumer at the Vine has a smart summary on how it compares to the ACES bill that passed the House over the summer, which should be read in full. My main takeaways are:

  1. It has tougher emissions caps than the House bill. This is important because it gives some leeway to negotiate: they can cave and make it equivalent to the House bill which would allow centrists/Republicans to claim that they’ve wrung a concession out while, in fact, it just end ups at the same level as the House bill.
  2. It’s tougher on biofuels than the house bill – a good thing, considering they likely have a net negative effect on emissions.
  3. They’ve renamed cap-and-trade as “Pollution Reduction and Investment system,” a better acronym than the bill itself though a possible cause of confusion. Ultimately, the term is a bit clunky in writing and verbally so I don’t think it’ll really catch. Additionally, I’m not sure that cap-and-trade should necessarily be abandoned. The problem isn’t that people dislike it but that they don’t know what it means.

To make this post even less original, I’ll throw in what Plumer takes from Dave Roberts’ summary of recent a recent EPA announcement regarding emissions regulations. Essentially, if the Senate doesn’t come through, the EPA will be up the slack. Throw in the recent ‘public nuisance’ ruling and I’d have to say things are looking pretty great for a emissions reduction program to be in place before too long.

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