House panel approves climate change bill
A key U.S. House of Representatives committee on Thursday approved legislation to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, one of President Barack Obama's chief policy goals. The House Energy and Commerce committee voted mostly along party lines to approve the measure that was written by Democrats, clearing it for review by other committees that also are expected to pass it. Democratic leaders hope to get the bill passed by the full House by August. The Senate might try to pass its version of a bill this year, but the outlook is unclear.
In late March Congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey released the first draft of a climate bill that presents three mechanisms designed to provide funding for reducing tropical deforestation: offsets, a supplemental pollution reduction program, and strategic reserve auctions.
This new climate proposal sends strong signals about the US stance on forestry and sectoral credits:
“SEC. 752. FINDINGS.
“Congress finds that—
“(1) as part of a global effort to mitigate climate change, it is in the national interest of the United States to assist developing countries to reduce and ultimately halt emissions from deforestation;
“(2) deforestation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, amounting to roughly 20 percent of overall emissions globally;
“(3) recent scientific analysis shows that it will be substantially more difficult to limit the increase in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees centigrade above preindustrial levels without reducing and ultimately halting net emissions from deforestation;
“(4) reducing emissions from deforestation is highly cost-effective, compared to many other sources of emissions reductions;
“(5) in addition to contributing significantly to worldwide efforts to address global warming, this assistance will generate significant environmental and social cobenefits, including protection of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and forest-related livelihoods; and
“(6) Under the Bali Action Plan, developed country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the United States, committed to ‘enhanced action on the provision of financial resources and investment to support action on mitigation and adaptation and technology cooperation,’ including, inter alia, consideration of improved access to adequate, predictable, and sustainable financial resources and financial and technical support, and the provision of new and additional resources, including official and concessional funding for developing country parties.
‘SEC. 753. SUPPLEMENTAL EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS THROUGH REDUCED DEFORESTATION.
Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this title, the Administrator, in consultation with the Administrator of USAID and any other appropriate agencies, shall promulgate regulations establishing a program to use emission allowances set aside for this purpose under section 781 to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries in accordance with the requirements of this part.
The objectives of the program established under this section shall be to—
“(1) achieve supplemental emissions reductions of at least 720,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, a cumulative amount of at least 6,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by December 31, 2025, and additional supplemental emissions reductions in subsequent years;
“(2) build capacity to reduce deforestation in developing countries experiencing deforestation, including preparing developing countries to participate in international markets for international offset credits for reduced emissions from deforestation; and
“(3) preserve existing forest carbon stocks in countries where such forest carbon may be vulnerable to international leakage, particularly in developing countries with largely intact native forests.
You can read the full text of the Waxman-Markey bill here.
Some first analyses of the Waxman-Markey Act:
The landmark Waxman-Markey 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act was introduced in the House this afternoon (May 15, download PDF here), and the Breakthrough Institute has performed a preliminary analysis of how it would invest over $1 trillion in cap and trade revenue between 2012-2025. Our key findings for this period include (all numbers are approximate -- download spreadsheet here)
Is the US interested in REDD?