The United States, long a bastion of global warming scepticism, has taken the first step towards introducing climate change legislation after a key congressional committee approved a hotly-debated bill.
The 932-page bill proposes sharp cuts on greenhouse-gas emissions and a cap-and-trade system that requires polluting businesses to buy emissions allowances. If the legislation is enacted, it would impose the first US limits on the pollution blamed for global warming The bill was passed by a 33-25 vote in the House Energy and Commerce committee on Thursday night after a series of compromises lowering emission standards to ease the concerns of politicians from energy-producing states.
Republicans who contended it was an anti-business and would boost costs for already-strapped consumers had repeatedly tried to defeat the proposals during a four-day session.
President Barack Obama, who is keen to sign climate change legislation before attending international negotiations on the issue in Copenhagen in December, welcomed the “historic” vote.