Just in time for President Barack Obama's visit to the Copenhagen climate change conference, three senators have unveiled their compromise cap-and-trade proposal for rationing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emssions. As the Associated Press reports:
Senators trying to craft bipartisan climate legislation offered a revised proposal Thursday that would add incentives for building nuclear power plants and open the way for expanded oil and gas drilling off the nation's coastlines in hopes of attracting wider support.
The new framework for a Senate climate bill would ease back requirements for early reductions of greenhouse gases. It calls for cuts of 17 percent by 2020, instead of 20 percent, similar to reductions already approved by the House and what Obama will call for at an international climate conference in Copenhagen.
The Gang of three—Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman—admits that they have not yet rounded up the 60 votes needed to pass a cap-and-trade bill. Not to fear, the senators are using the tried-and-true legislative technique of bribing their fellow solons to achieve that goal:
The senators said the bill would include tax credits and a substantial increase in government loan guarantees for building nuclear reactors as well as some streamlining of the reactor permitting process. Currently loan guarantees for new reactors — which can cost $9 billion or more each — are limited to a total of $18.5 billion, and even those have yet to be awarded by the Energy Department.
The legislation also would open the way for offshore oil and gas drilling with the proceeds shared between the federal government and nearby states. Where to drill and how much revenue will be shared with states will depend on negotiations on the bill, said Graham.
More details as they become available. See AP report here.