There's finally a trailhead for the long, slow road toward a climate bill. Representatives Ed Markey and Henry Waxman announced their bill proposal, which asks for stricter environmental standards than President Barack Obama had previously outlined:
The bill unveiled by Waxman and Markey would create a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide that covers any entity emitting more than 25,000 tons of CO2 per year. The draft language doesn't include specifics on what percentage of those credits would be allocated to polluters each year at no cost, or how many they'd need to purchase. It also doesn't specify how the proceeds of an auction would be spent.
The New York Times reports that the climate bill proposal is no cause for environmentalists to celebrate yet:
But the bill leaves critical questions unanswered and has no Republican support. It is thus the beginning, not the end, of the debate in Congress on how to deal with two of President Obama's priorities, climate change and energy.
The draft measure, written by Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, sets a slightly more ambitious goal for capping heat-trapping gases than Mr. Obama's proposal. The bill requires that emissions be reduced 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, while Mr. Obama's plan calls for a 14 percent reduction by 2020. Both would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases by roughly 80 percent by 2050.