US Senate readies for cap and trade hearings

Washington DC
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Legislative hearings will begin on 27 October for cap and trade legislation introduced by US Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer.

President Barack Obama's administration has advocated for a domestic cap and trade scheme before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets general greenhouse gas emissions targets this December that will take effect after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

It remains to be seen if energy reform will pass in the Senate, which has rejected such efforts in past years, after the House narrowly passed cap and trade legislation this June.

In advance of the hearings, draft provisions of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act have been sent to the US Environmental Protection Agency for analysis.

"We expect the EPA's analysis to be completed in time for legislative hearings later this month," Boxer says in a statement.

Both the Senate and House bill set reduction targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and require regulated entities such as oil companies and manufacturers to hold allowances to emit greenhouse gases (GHG)

That results in fuel providers being responsible for emissions from both refining and attributable emissions, which results when an end user burns the fuel.

As a consequence, airlines would expect a fuel surcharge to be added to their fuel bill, Air Transport Association of America (ATA) VP of environmental affairs Nancy Young has warned.

ATA has said the House bill would cost US airlines roughly $5 billion in 2012 and $10 billion in 2020.