Kim Chipman and Simon Lomax
April 22, 2010
When Tea Party activists began protesting last July, it wasn’t the health-care overhaul that set them off. The target was a cap-and-trade bill, designed to limit carbon emissions, that had passed the U.S. House of Representatives a few days before.
Their anger, along with opposition from some Democrats, stalled the bill in the Senate. By winter, polls showed more Americans were questioning whether climate change was even a concern. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who favors climate action, told reporters March 2 that “cap-and- trade is dead.”
Now Graham, John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut are preparing to introduce a compromise bill in the Senate. They have indicated it will include a mandatory, declining limit on carbon emissions in the electric-power industry while giving utilities the right to buy and sell carbon allowances.
The senators aren’t calling it “cap-and-trade,” though. The legislation is about “pricing carbon,” Graham told reporters in Washington last month.