Senators Unveil Plan to Cut U.S. Emissions

Long-anticipated plan proposes emission cuts through a cap-and-trade system.

U.S. senators on May 12 unveiled a plan on climate change, proposing to cut emissions 17% by 2020 off 2005 levels through regulation of power, industry and transportation.

"We can finally tell the world that America is ready to take back our role as the world's clean energy leader," said Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts and close ally of President Barack Obama.

After months of fine-tuning, Kerry and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman proposed a bill that would put the onus on heavy industry and power plants to cut carbon emissions, which scientists blame for global warming.

While shying away from the politically-charged term, the bill in effect sets up a "cap-and-trade" system that limits carbon emissions by businesses but gives them an economic incentive by allowing trade in credits.

Cap-and-trade systems are the bedrock of Europe's efforts to curb carbon emissions and also a bill that passed the House of Representatives in June last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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