The Senate Climate Bill is due to be released shortly. Senators are currently discussing provisions in the bill with industries that will be impacted by its goal of reducing emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Speaking following a meeting with representatives from the oil, power and manufacturing sectors, Senator Lindsey Graham said that if the Bill is met with strong resistance from US businesses, he “will have failed”. He said that his “goal is to create a system to price carbon that is business friendly, that creates jobs, cleans up the air and gets us away from foreign oil”.
Industry groups attending the meeting, including the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, have strongly opposed previous climate measures like the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill.
The Bill is expected to include a cap-and-trade system for utilities, with a carbon fee on oil and gas companies that is linked to the price of allowances in the power sector. The Bill also includes a “hard” price collar on carbon. Manufacturing will be left out of the system until, it is argued, technology that allows the sector to reduce its emissions becomes available. Steel, cement and paper companies would not be required to comply with carbon caps until 2016 or later, sources said.
With public concern about global warming currently at a fairly low level in the US, the White House and other bill proponents have framed the issue as one of national security, saying that the Bill will dramatically reduce US oil imports from the Middle East, a concept that is frequently popular with voters.