The chair of the Senate environment and public works committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) held a press conference earlier today promising to get a bill regulating carbon dioxide emissions out of her committee, perhaps within weeks. As the Guardian reports:
Democrat leaders in Congress committed to swift action on a green agenda today, promising draft cap and trade legislation for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions before the Copenhagen round of climate change negotiations in December…
Flanked by Democratic senators and representatives from environmental and business organisations, she sketched out six broad guiding principles:
• a commitment to reducing emissions to levels guided by science to avoid global warming;
• setting enforceable short- and long-term emissions targets;
• establishing a carbon market;
• investing in clean technology;
• supporting efforts by local and state governments to deal with climate change;
• supporting developing nations.
But the challenge for Boxer was underlined by the vagueness of the principles and the absence of any show of support from Republicans on the committee.
Note that Boxer did not promise that Congress will pass a law establishing a carbon market by the time the U.N. Climate Change Conference begins in Copenhagen this coming December. In any case, Boxer's push for a cap-and-trade scheme is the triumph of naive hope over Europe's bitter experience.