House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Energy and Air Quality subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) have released a new 461-page climate change bill that they are calling a "discussion draft."
Environmental groups are praising the release of a new bill, but point out that the numbers are off, particularly on short-term targets.
Here are a few excerpts from the beginning of the "discussion" in Washington and around the country.
Environment America, EarthJustice, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups released a statement:
“While we look forward to fully reviewing the Dingell-Boucher draft bill, we are disappointed that it does not aim to reduce emissions from current levels for nearly 10 years - until after 2017. We are encouraged, however, that the bill appears not to include a so-called “safety valve,” which could bust the emissions limits. We look forward to working with the Chairmen and other members of the Energy & Commerce Committee to strengthen the draft bill so that it meets the challenge before us.”
Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett said: "While we acknowledge the work Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher have put into this draft legislation, we would be remiss not to point out that it still falls far short of what is needed to avoid catastrophic global warming."
The statement said the draft legislation contains numerous shortcomings that would prevent
the United States from doing its part to stop global warming
"Faced with a four-fold increase in the rate of carbon dioxide pollution since 2000 and emerging evidence of methane emissions from the melting arctic that may accelerate global warming we simply don’t have time anymore for the half-measures and loopholes that riddle this bill."
The National Resources Defense Council said: “There are many positive features to the discussion draft, such as the inclusion of a strong reduction target for 2050 and thoughtful approaches to the details of the structure of a comprehensive program. However, there are also many important respects in which the draft legislation must be improved. Most notably, the near- and mid-term emission reduction targets must be substantially strengthened in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
We are also very concerned about provisions that would eliminate existing authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act and alter the rights and ability of states to combat global warming on their own. We believe the final legislation must preserve existing Clean Air Act authority and the ability of states to operate as innovation laboratories."
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and author of a competing global warming bill, said: “This draft recognizes that, to combat global warming and unleash a clean energy revolution, America needs to set long-term targets, protect consumers, and invest in energy efficiency and clean technologies. The draft legislation lays out a range of options for structuring a cap and trade system that are likely to trigger a vigorous and healthy debate about how best to reduce global warming pollution."
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said: "I am pleased that Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher have decided to write a comprehensive global warming bill. I am not going to comment on the details of the draft plan today, except to say that it is a very good sign of the commitment in the House to tackle global warming legislation in the next Congress."
According to the Jim Snyder on TheHill.com "more important than any particulars at this point is the fact that Dingell and Boucher, two members with whom environmental groups have clashed, have set down on paper their broad goals for climate change, a month before an election in which the economy is paramount on voters’ minds. That signals a shift in the old debate of environment versus the economy, which was often won by pocketbook issues."