Senator Jeff Bingaman via Politico
Earlier this afternoon, several media outlets posted a discussion draft of a utility-only cap-and-trade bill that Senator Jeff Bingaman is apparently working on. It’s not a finished product (provisions for offsets, for example, remain to be added) and apparently is a slightly out-of-date iteration (dating roughly to April). But it provides some signs of what a utility-only bill might look like, and what some of the associated issues might be. Three things stand out to me as particularly interesting.
First, the bill aims to cut utility-sector emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. This means that it effectively imposes a weaker requirement, even on the utility sector, than Kerry-Lieberman would. Achieving an economy-wide cut of 17% in 2020 by combining this target with separate measures aimed at reducing oil consumption would be extremely costly at best, and more than likely impossible. There is one potential caveat…