Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Climate Change Bills Compared


Climate Change Bills of the 110th Congress

See a chart comparing climate change proposals from the World Resources Institute.

Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) - S.280
Introduced 1/12/2007
Sponsors Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), Barack Obama (D-IL), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Susan Collins (R-ME)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2012
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 65 percent
What sources are covered? Electric power, industrial, commercial, transportation petroleum
Can farmers participate? Yes. Agricultural offsets are limited to 30 percent of allowances. (What does this mean?)
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Change Credit Corporation to reduce costs to consumers resulting from this act.

Provides R&D funding for advanced coal, renewable electricity, energy efficiency, advanced technology vehicles, transportation fuels, carbon sequestration and storage, and nuclear reactor technologies.

Requires periodic evaluations (by Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.


Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act - S.309
Introduced 1/15/2007
Sponsors Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Performance standards with the option for an emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 83 percent
What sources are covered? Electric generation, motor vehicles, fuel
Can farmers participate? Not specified
Other Provisions
Provides funding for R&D on geologic sequestration, among other projects.

Includes emissions standards for new vehicles beginning in 2016 and renewable fuels requirement for gasoline beginning in 2016.

Includes energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards (beginning in 2008) and low-carbon electric generation standards (beginning in 2016) for electric utilities.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.


The Electric Utility Cap and trade Act - S.317
Introduced 1/17/2007
Sponsors Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system for electric utilities only
First year of emissions cap 2011
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 8 percent (electric utilities only)
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 41 percent (electric utilities only); Note: This bill is not structured like the others in that it pertains to electric utilities only. Total GHG emissions from all sources could increase by 62 percent by 2050 if other sectors are not phased in under the cap.
What sources are covered? Electric utilities
Can farmers participate? Yes
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Science Advisory Board to inform the administration and Congress of the state of climate science, and make recommendations to achieve climate stabilization.

Provides R&D funding for low- and zero-emitting carbon technologies, clean coal technologies, and energy efficient technologies relevant to the utilities industry.

Requires periodic evaluations (by Environmental Protection Agency) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.


Bingaman Bill
Introduced January 2007 discussion draft
Sponsors Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions intensity cap and trade system (What is this?)
First year of emissions intensity cap 2010
What are its pollution-reduction targets? GHG intensity is reduced 2.6 percent per year from 2012 to 2021 and 3 percent per year in 2022 and after. Note: This bill is structured differently from the others. Total GHG emissions would increase 16 percent by 2020, and because of a contingency in the bill, total emissions could increase even more.
What sources are covered? Petroleum refineries, coal mines, natural gas processors, electricity generators, carbon-intensive manufacturing
Can farmers participate? Yes. Participation is limited to 5 percent of allowances.
Other Provisions
Includes a safety valve of $7. (What is this?)

Provides R&D funding for zero- or low-carbon energy technologies (e.g., high efficiency consumer products), advanced coal technologies, cellulosic biomass and advanced technology vehicles.


Global Warming Reduction Act - S.485
Introduced 2/1/2007
Sponsors Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system and performance standards
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 67 percent
What sources are covered? Unspecified: "Sources and sectors with the greatest global warming pollutant emissions" to be determined by the administrator.
Can farmers participate? Yes
Other Provisions
Establishes passenger vehicle standards no less stringent than California's by 2014.

Gives consumer tax credits for advanced vehicle technologies (e.g., fuel cells, plug-in hybrids).

Mandates 60 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2030; requires the installation of E-85 pumps at certain gas stations. (In 2006, the United States consumed 141.5 billion gallons of gasoline.)

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Olver-Gilchrest - Climate Stewardship Act - H.R.620
Introduced 1/15/2007
Sponsors Reps. John Olver (D-MA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2012
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 75 percent
What sources are covered? Electric power, industrial, commercial, transportation petroleum
Can farmers participate? Yes. Participation is limited to 15 percent of allowances.
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Change Credit Corporation to reduce costs to consumers resulting from this act.

Includes energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards (beginning in 2008) and low-carbon electric generation standards (beginning in 2016) for electric utilities.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.


Representative Waxman - Safe Climate Act - H.R.1590
Introduced 3/20/2007
Sponsors Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 83 percent
What sources are covered? Unspecified: "Sources and sectors with the largest emissions" to be determined by the administrator
Can farmers participate? Not specified
Other Provisions
Establishes passenger vehicle standards no less stringent than California's by 2014.

Establishes a national renewable energy standard in 2009; by 2020, 20 percent of electric energy generation must be from renewable sources.

Creates a national energy efficiency standard.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Farmer participation: Farming and agricultural businesses can help solve global warming through innovative practices such as storing carbon in soils and managing manure. (Good manure practices can cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.) Some bills tap this agricultural potential by giving farmers the option to participate. Such provisions work like this: companies can buy agricultural "offsets" to satisfy a portion of their required emissions reductions. (The bills spell out how much of an industry's emissions cuts can come from offsets.) Some bills include similar provisions for forestry offsets.

Emissions intensity: Intensity-based emissions targets link greenhouse gas emissions to economic growth (usually gross domestic product, or GDP). GHG intensity actually measures energy efficiency, so declining GHG intensity indicates improving efficiency, or less energy consumed per unit of production. However, intensity-based targets cannot guarantee that emissions will go down. In fact, under such proposals, GHG emissions can increase. For example, from 1990 to 2004, even in the absence of climate policy, GHG intensity in the United States fell by nearly 20 percent. At the same time, total GHG emissions increased by 20 percent. The reason this happened is that economic output grew more quickly than emissions, even though both were growing.

Safety valve: Some parties concerned with the cost of climate policy believe the way to manage costs is to establish a safety valve, also called an "escape hatch" or "price cap." Under such policies, when the price of carbon reaches a pre-determined dollar value, emitters no longer have to rely on the market's supply of allowances. Instead, the federal government simply sells additional allowances at the capped price - potentially in an unlimited quantity. This kind of escape hatch stifles innovation and can effectively allow more GHG into the atmosphere.

Thanks to Bruce MacDuffie (Diocese of North Dakota) of the Episcopal Environmental Network.

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sue said...
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