Senate to Get Its Own Climate Bill, Set More Aggressive Greenhouse Gas Targets

More aggressive targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions is one difference between a U.S. Senate draft climate bill and a House bill, a review shows.

The Senate bill, expected to be formally introduced Wednesday, sets a 2020 target date to achieve a 20 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels, compared to a 17 percent reduction in the House-passed bill, The New York Times reported. Both bills would set a long-term target of an 83 percent reduction by 2050.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and John Kerry, D-Mass., would set up a cap-and-trade system to achieve emissions targets, allowing entities to buy and sell permits within an overall emissions ceiling. Left unaddressed, however, is how the permits would be distributed among relevant businesses and utilities, the Times said.

The Senate bill differs from the House version in its treatment of offsets, ways polluting industries could get credit for emission reductions by paying others — such as farmers or timber growers — to adopt practices reducing the overall level of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The Senate bill also would provide greater incentives than the House version for nuclear power plant construction and for low-emissions transportation systems, aides told the Times.

Boxer said hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which she leads, would begin Oct. 20.

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