Kerry-Lieberman-Graham Reveal Their Climate Plan
The big John Kerry – Joe Lieberman – Lindsey Graham climate “framework” is out and it’s… pretty vague.
The only firm numbers in the document, which was attached to a letter sent to President Barack Obama, are pretty predictable and conservative — emissions reductions of 17 percent below 2005 levels in the “near term” (which means 2020, apparently) and a “long term” target of 80 percent below 2005 levels. The 2020 target is the same as what was proposed in the Waxman-Markey bill that passed through the house this spring.
Apparently, they’re following Obama’s approach of outsourcing the writing of legislation to committee chairs. But they intend to get the bill to a floor vote by early next year.
The three senators – Democrat Kerry, Republican Graham and Independent Lieberman — decided to draft the compromise as it became clear that the climate change bill Kerry drafted with Sen. Barbara Boxer would not attract the votes necessary to pass. The measure is based, in part, on an agreement Kerry struck with Graham back in October that would give nuclear, clean coal and domestic drilling a privileged spot in any legislation.
And behold, every energy source gets its due. Coal’s “future as part of the energy mix is inseparable from the passage of comprehensive climate change and energy legislation. Nuclear power “is an essential component of our strategy to reduce greehouse gas emissions. Domestic natural gas and offshore drilling are in the mix too.
There are some subheds about “securing energy independence”, “protecting commerce” and “encouraging nuclear power”, among others, but few details. There is also a scare piece in the document about Congress ceding policy creation to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is intended to spur legislators to action.
There’s no mention of cap and trade only that there will be “vigiliant carbon market oversight”.
Obama issued a statement in support of the senators’ effort here, and called it ”a positive development towards reaching a strong, unified and bipartisan agreement in the U.S. Senate.”