Over the last few weeks, Sens. Kerry, Graham and Lieberman have held many discussions about climate change legislation. Those discussions resulted in the release of a climate change framework yesterday: the “Framework for Climate Action and Energy Independence in the U.S. Senate.” Sen. Kerry said the framework sends a message that “The United States Senate is committed to addressing this challenge, and the majority leader has committed us to doing so early next spring.” The greenhouse gas emissions targets set forth in the framework call for a near-term reduction to 17 percent below 2005 levels and a long-term reduction of 80 percent below 2005 levels. Contrasted against leading cap-and-trade proposals in the House and Senate, the framework outlines a plan designed, amongst other things, to attract the votes of moderate democrats and republicans by
- increasing domestic drilling,
- maintaining refining capacity,
- financing and expediting the permitting process for nuclear power,
- underwriting significant investments in carbon capture and storage technology for coal-fired power plants,
- creating a substantial revenue stream for agriculture and forestry as a result of carbon offset programs, and
- establishing WTO-compliant trade protections for American manufacturing.