The answer to which bill is better depends of course on your perspective. The Senate bill mandates reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to 20% below that of 2005 by 2020, compared to a 17% reduction in the House bill. In the area of cap and trade, the Senate bill chose not to address which industries would receive free allowances, though of course this all remains to be worked out in conference. The Senate bill creates a program encouraging natural gas use, while the House still supported coal-burning in the hopes new technology would address the emissions issue. The Senate bill also chose not to address the question of “punishing” China and India for not making progress on reducing their emissions, while the House bill imposes a tariff on those countries that have not established climate programs by 2020. The Senate bill also has stricter language encouraging the establishment of green transportation options, such as bike paths, but then has much more lax language having to do with methane emissions. Basically, it’s six of one and half a dozen of another, depending on what you feel most strongly about. Remember, the Senate bill is not a finished product, and compromise between the two versions will need to be reached before President Obama gets a chance to sign.
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