US Senators Release Climate Proposals

Three U.S. Senators on Thursday released a blueprint for a clmate change and energy bill they believe can garner the 60 votes needed for approval.

Joseph LIeberman (Ind-Conn.)  joined John Kerry (D-Mass) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who outlined their bi-partisan plans in October.

The three Senators sent a letter to President Obama yesterday, explaining that they believe they can build support for a climate bill with a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target "in the range of" 17% by 2020, if the bill includes support for offshore oil and gas drilling and construction of new nuclear power plants. 

In addition, they would allow tariffs on exports from countries that do not set tough emissions limits. This last bit is sure to draw strong criticism from developing countries, who argue that such tariffs work against the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

According to the New York Times, Senators Maria Cantwell, (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) plan to release a separate proposal on Friday.

Their proposal reportedly will be a cap-and-dividend approach, that sets a price and limit on carbon emissions and returns most of the proceeds to taxpayers in the form of a yearly dividend. It would also set aside a portion for clean energy development, according to the report. 

Such as system is essentially a carbon tax–a simpler means of addressing climate change than the creation of a cap-and-trade system. 

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