Sunday, April 26, 2009

Committee hearings underway!

A week ago the most important piece of US climate legislation ever has been submitted for review. The congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey have submitted a draft of the American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009. This bill aims to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 83% compared to 2005 levels by 2050. That’s the same target President Obama has, but the House bill sets more aggressive short-term targets, such as a 20% reduction by 2020 and a 42% cut by 2030. It is a critical mechanism to implement a full blown cap-and-trade agreement.

Given that this 600 pager is a pretty substantial piece of legislation and is planned to pass all hurdles in this year, big discussion ensues. The Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing this bill in many hearings, which you can follow in the Sierra Club life blog named "broken record".

Legislation will be the most important mechanism to avoid a severe climate crisis in the next 30-50 years. The USA will be the critical country to initiate and drive the change to a sustainable future. Whatever is going to happen in congress this year will set the tone for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December this year. This is where the expiring Kyoto protocol is renegotiated and the role of the US will be driving responses from China, India and all other countries.

I recommend following these debates and check out groups such as RepowerAmerica, WeCanSolveIt, Environmental Defense Fund or the Sierra Club...

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