Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Markey have released a discussion draft of their climate change and energy bill, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.” The legislation is a comprehensive energy and climate change package that is broken down into four parts: clean energy, energy efficiency, global warming, and transitioning. One key issue not addressed in the draft bill, due to its complexity and need for further discussions between committee members, is how to allocate the tradable emission allowances.
The global warming section of the bill resembles the model released by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership earlier this year. The two notable emissions targets in this bill are the 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and the 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. These targets may be ambitious if carbon capture and storage and other technologies aren’t available. Rep. Boucher (D-VA) has already noted that the early targets might be one change in the bill that he would recommend. Additionally, the draft would allow for robust use of offsets, banking, and cost control auctions in order to mitigate potential negative economic consequences of climate change regulation.
Chairman Waxman has also released a preliminary schedule moving forward for the legislation. It involves hearings during the week of April 20, with a subcommittee markup tentatively scheduled for the following week. Waxman hopes to have the bill ready for full committee markup by May 11 in order to meet his goal of having the bill out of committee before Congress's Memorial Day recess.