Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer, along with representatives of many mainstream environmental groups and think tanks, announced comprehensive climate change legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, February 14, 2013, on Capitol Hill.
“This is a gold-standard bill,” Boxer said. “Every once in a while we have them.”
According to The Nation, here are some features of the imminent legislation:
• A price on carbon or methane equivalent of $20 per ton. That amount rises 5.6 percent annually for ten years.
• The carbon price applies only to “upstream” producers, that is, the points of origin for fossil fuels—coal mines, oil refineries, natural gas processing points and so on. It would also apply to any imported fossil fuels, at the point of importation.
• The price also applies to only 2,869 of the largest fossil fuel polluters, which covers 85 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.
• The carbon price would raise $1.2 trillion in revenue, according to the CBO. A large portion of that revenue would go towards investments in clean energy and energy efficiency: weatherizing 1 million homes per year, tripling the federal budget for energy research and development via ARPA-E, and creating a $500 billion sustainable technologies finance program, and providing worker training for clean energy technologies, among other initiatives. Using revenue from the carbon price and from ending subsidies to oil and gas companies, the Sanders-Boxer legislation would also pay $300 billion towards deficit reduction.
• Since this would likely boost natural gas production, the bill contains several fracking safeguards: it ends current fracking exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and heightens disclosure requirements for fracking chemicals.
You can watch the announcement below by Senators Sanders and Boxer, or can read the legislation (pdf) itself.