By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, Sept 24 U.S. Senate Democrats will
unveil legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions next
Wednesday, kicking off what is likely to be a battle in
Congress due to concerns over additional energy costs.
The bill has not been released formally but will be
by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and California Senator
Barbara Boxer, a Congressional source said on Thursday.
"The overall architecture of the Senate bill is going to be
very similar to the House version of the bill," a separate
source at an environmental group said via telephone from the
G20 summit in Pittsburgh.
The House narrowly passed a climate change bill in June
that would establish a system capping carbon dioxide
The House bill called for a 17 percent cut in carbon
emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, and about an 80 percent
reduction by 2050.
It would also require companies to acquire permits for the
right to emit carbon. Initially about 85 percent of the carbon
permits would be provided to companies for free.
Another source said the Senators are contemplating
requiring a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2020.
Any climate legislation in the Senate likely faces an
uphill battle, as lawmakers from heavy industrial states in
both parties have raised concerns about burdening companies
with additional energy costs.
Republicans, in particular, have characterized so-called
cap and trade legislation as a massive energy tax that will
kill jobs and hurt the economy as it recovers.
If the Senate is able to pass its version of the climate
bill, then lawmakers will have to hammer out any differences
before the bill becomes law.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he hopes to
bring this legislation to the floor for a vote by the end of
this year. He has also said he plans to combine the bill, with
a comprehensive energy package that was approved by the Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this year.
The announcement comes as U.S. President Barack Obama hosts
a meeting of major economies in Pittsburgh, where they are are
expected to discuss how industrialized nations could provide
financial support to developing nations dealing with climate
This summit is a precursor to negotiations over an
international climate accord in Copenhagen in December.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Tom Doggett; Editing by