Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell of Michigan and Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher of Virginia unveiled their draft climate change bill last week. With federal regulation of greenhouse gases on the horizon, this discussion draft will help shape the discourse in the 111th Congress.
The legislation proposes a cap-and-trade system that covers approximately 88 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The draft puts U.S. emissions reductions at 6 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 44 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
Relevant to the practice of landscape architecture are a set of projects that are eligible for offset credits, including afforestation or reforestation projects. Also, the Secretary of Agriculture can further determine projects that generate additional reductions or sequestrations of greenhouse gas emissions through agricultural soil carbon sequestration, recycling, and waste minimization and controlled wastewater treatment.
The draft bill also includes provisions related to transportation enhancements and improvements. Section 552 of the legislation includes funds for state and local governments to create transportation efficiency plans and additional competitive performance-based funding for the implementation of these plans. The implementation funds can be used for a wide variety of vehicle miles traveled and improved transportation system efficiency projects, including efforts to increase mass transit service and ridership, construction of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and traffic smoothing patterns.
The draft is a result of two years of research, “white papers,” and hearings by Dingell and Boucher on the subject. Text of the draft bill and other materials are at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.