US Climate Legislation
24 November 2009
In the USA, the introduction of climate change legislation is in progress. The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) gained approval of the House of Representatives in June and would require that at least 15% of US electricity be generated from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power, by 2020.
ACESA would also place a price on emissions of greenhouse gases through the establishment of a US emissions trading scheme similar to that in operation in the EU, with the overall objective of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions by 17% (of 2005 levels) by 2020, and by 83% by 2050.
In the Senate, ACESA's counterpart, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (CEJAPA), establishes the same emissions trading scheme, but goes further than ACESA by aiming to cut US emissions by 20% (of 2005 levels) by 2020. CEJAPA must now be debated in the Senate and will require the approval of a two-thirds majority before a final consolidated text can be considered by both Houses of Congress.
One big difficulty is that timing for conclusion of Senate legislation will not be until after the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009, and US negotiators are very reluctant to agree to anything in Copenhagen that the US Senate will not ratify.