What's In The First Draft Of The House's Cap And Trade Bill


The House of Representatives draft of the cap and trade bill is out now. The Wall Street Journal’s Environmental Capital blog and Bloomberg News poured through it. This is what they’ve found:

Environmental Capital:

  • Cuts U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 83% compared to 2005 levels by 2050.
  • House bill sets wants 20% reduction by 2020 and a 42% cut by 2030.
  • The cap-and-trade bill would cover about 85% of the U.S. economy, requiring businesses like power companies and steel mills to get permits to cover their emissions.
  • Those sectors would get a government handout in the form of rebates to cushion the higher energy bills brought about by climate legislation.
  • The rebates aren’t open-ended: When 70% of the global production of whatever’s under threat—steel, cement—is covered by similar climate-change programs, the crutch falls away.
  • The bill doesn’t address whether the government will sell or give away permits.
  • Companies can buy offsets to reduce their emissions in lieu of purchasing carbon permits
  • To monitor the legitimacy of those offsets, the bill establishes an advisory board to investigate them.


  • The legislation would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to regulate the cash market in permits.
  • An interagency working group would advise the president on which agency should oversee a carbon derivatives market.
  • The proposed new cap-and-trade permits would honour emissions credits currently being traded under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program for 10 eastern U.S. states trading pollution allowances.

As for, who gets the money from any cap and trade program–a tax cut for consumers or money for government spending–the bill just says, “To be supplied.”

If you want the full 648 page discussion draft of the bill, here it available as download in PDF form. Enjoy.

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