US to announce climate bill as Europe considers larger cuts
Details of the US bill on climate change are set to be announced later today, whilst Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard is to set the case for raising cuts in CO2 emissions across the EU.
Both however face opposition. The American bill, proposing a cut of 17% by 2010, contains several measures to allay opposition, including the possibility of easing restrictions on offshore drilling and a boost for the nuclear power sector. The bill will propose setting a price on carbon emissions for large polluters, and provide monetary incentives for firms to develop so-called clean coal technologies.
However, it is possible that the bill will not be discussed until after elections later this year, where the Democrats may lose their stranglehold on Congress, making it much more difficult to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation.
An increase in emission cuts may suffer less concerted opposition in the EU. However, a consortium of major European industries issued a statement last week opposing plans to increase cuts to 30% without a reciprocal agreement from the US.
Although this is also the current EU position, Ms Hedegaard said that achieving the current target of 20% is now a third cheaper due to the economic recession, and increasing cuts to 30% may only cost a further 11 bin Euros. Her paper, set to be published later this month, will analyse the costs and benefits of such cuts.
Original articles: “Europe to examine case for bigger CO2 cuts” by Roger Harrabin (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10109088.stm) and “US senators Kerry and Lieberman to unveil climate bill” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8676581.stm).
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