If Democratic Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer are successful Wednesday, they might nudge Senate negotiations on climate change a bit closer to, well, starting. Kerry and Boxer are scheduled to introduce some global warming legislation – the Boxer-Kerry bill – on which they collaborated for some nine months. The Senators hope the bill will sway legislators who are hesitant to act on climate change.
According to a New York Times report, the Boxer-Kerry bill will build largely from legislation already approved in June (after quite a struggle and subsequent restructuring), although the similarities between the two are unknown at this point. (Sources do suggest the bill will seek an aggressive 20 percent emissions target for 2020 while remaining silent on how to divide up emission allowances.)
Kerry reportedly insisted that the bill is a “pollution reduction” bill, not a “cap and trade” proposal. Nonetheless, he is prepared for the bill to undergo substantial restructuring. It is likely Senators will debate issues such as international trade provisions, emissions allowances, renewable energy standards and incentives, agriculture, and energy-intensive manufacturing.
Some opponents to climate change legislation have already voiced their resistance to the bill. Republican and EPW Committee ranking member James Inhofe reportedly said, “No matter the semantic games employed, or the extent to which Democrats wish to hide the truth from the American people, cap and trade will mean more job losses, more pain at the pump, and higher food and electricity prices for consumers.”
If all goes as scheduled, hearings (by which lawmakers may amend the bill) will start sometime next month.