EPA analysis shows how Kerry-Lieberman climate bill stacks up

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 16 – Reports of the death of climate change legislation could be premature. EPA released a detailed analysis this week of the “American Power Act” climate bill proposed by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). EPA concludes that the bill's gradualist approach could achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and by more than 80 percent by 2050 at a reasonable cost to American families.

EPA forecasts an average cost for each American household of between $79 and $146 per year, adding that “The APA cost estimates do not account for the benefits of avoiding . . . the costs of climate change induced damages.”

EPA identifies the key aspects of the bill as:

  • Establishes a multi-sector cap-and-trade program with delayed phase-in for the industrial sector, and with an alternative compliance program for the transportation fuels and refined petroleum products sectors.”

  • Creates other incentives and standards for increasing energy efficiency and low-carbon energy development and consumption.”

The analysis came just in time for a crucial show-down over climate bill prospects. On Thursday, Sens. Kerry, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) each will make their cases in a Democratic caucus meeting for their differing approaches to having Kerry's cap-and-trade, Cantwell's cap-and-dividend or Bingaman's energy bill taken up by the full Senate. The caucus – and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) – will then make the call on which approach is the most likely to succeed in a Senate where Democrats now need at least some Republican support to pass legislation.

To read the 74-page EPA analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman “American Power Act” climate bill, go to: www.epa.gov/climatechange/economics/pdfs/EPA_APA_Analysis_6-14-10.pdf

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