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US House of Representatives Democrats Agree on Climate Change Bill

Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives said they have reached a compromise agreement on a bill aimed at combating climate change.

California Representative Henry Waxman, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the agreement includes a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020. Waxman and others had sought a 20 percent cut within the same time frame, but faced strong opposition from lawmakers from states which rely heavily on coal-powered plants.

The measure would also allocate a certain percentage of free pollution permits for certain businesses. The Obama administration and its allies want businesses to purchase permits to emit greenhouse gasses from other firms that use less energy, a system known as "cap and trade."

The lawmakers have also agreed to a requirement that 15 percent of electricity be generated by renewable sources by 2020.

Waxman said the compromise bill will be unveiled on Thursday, and expects it to be approved by the committee by next week.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.