Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senators Release Climate Change Legislation Draft

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senators Release Climate Change Legislation Draft

Article excerpt

Recently, Sens. John Kerry, (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) released a joint draft of climate change legislation. The bill aims to cut overall U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, using 2005 levels as a benchmark, by 20 percent by the year 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Climate change legislation already passed in the House calls for a 17 percent cut by 2020, but has the same mid-century target as the Senate plan.

"This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity," said Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, one of the six committees with jurisdiction over portions of the bill. "... Our health, our security, our economy, our environment, all demand we reinvent the way America uses energy."

The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, S. 1733, includes several provisions that would impact local governments. Among them are transportation-related provisions that would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a national goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The bill creates a planning grant for states and metropolitan planning organizations to implement plans to reach the national goal, as well as dedicates funding to public transportation agencies.

Additionally, the legislation would give local governments the authority to set fuel efficiency standards for taxicabs, allowing cities like New York and Boston to overcome federal court rulings that struck down their efforts to require all taxis to be hybrids. …

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