The Senate version of the 2009 energy and climate bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, has made some small progress this week. The draft version of their version of the legislation, largely constructed thanks to Sen. Boxer and Sen. Kerry, is reported to include a 20% reduction of 2005 GHG emissions by 2020, which is slightly better than the 17% goal in the House ACES bill. This version should have been released after a 11:30A EDT press event in D.C. today. Like the House bill, a cap-and-trade system is established. Also, pollution allowances will be generated, but no distribution plan has been laid out yet.
It is well worth noting that GHG emissions are estimated to have been reduced by 6% below 2005 levels thanks to the Republican’s Great Recession. So the 20% reduction is really an additional 14% reduction, according to the Senate version, and an additional 11% reduction according to the House version. Which means it is very, very doable. Energy efficiency measures alone would likely help us achieve those reductions in time for the 2020 goal. Between now and then, as climate change effects continue to take hold, and political willpower to do something about climate change hopefully grows, technologies will be developed and marketed and it will become normal to reduce our greenhouse forcing.