Global warming bill passes the House


The U.S. House of Representatives passed the country's first climate change legislation 219-212 on Friday. The vote was highly partisan with Democrats generally supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and Republicans mostly opposing it.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the country’s first climate change legislation on Friday. The 219-212 vote was highly partisan with Democrats generally supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and Republicans mostly opposing it.

The bill effectively places a price on emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas scientists have linked to climate change. The bill mandates that 15 percent of the country’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The bill still needs to pass the Senate — where it will likely be revised — and win presidential approval to become law.

The bill has proved highly controversial and won the attention of powerful lobbies. Opponents claim the bill will significantly raise energy prices, while supporters say cost increases will be moderate and offset by other benefits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the bill will cost $22 billion, or about $175 per household, in 2020.

united states co2 emissions from fossil fuel use

U.S. climate legislation is critical to an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions at the U.N. climate meeting this December in Copenhagen. The conference will hammer out the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and has largely been viewed a as failure for regulating emissions, due partly to the lack of participation by the United States, the world’s largest emitted of CO2 until it was surpassed by China in 2007.

While carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use in the United States fell 2.8 percent in 2008, U.S. emissions are presently 15.9 percent above the 1990 level (the baseline for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol) and 2.8 percent below the 2005 level (the baseline proposed under the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 [the Waxman-Markey bill]). The recent decline has been attributed to a slowing economy and high gasoline prices.

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