A key U.S. congressional panel has approved a landmark bill aimed at
combating climate change, days after Democratic lawmakers reached a
compromise on the measure.
The House Energy and Commerce
Committee approved the bill Thursday by a 33-25 vote, split largely
along party lines, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing.
key part of the bill calls for a so-called cap-and-trade system that
would allow businesses to buy permits to emit greenhouse gasses from
other firms that use less energy.
The bill also calls for a 17
percent cut of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels
by 2020. Committee chairman Henry Waxman and others initially called
for a 20 percent cut, but agreed to a lower level after objections from
Democrats who represent states heavily dependent on coal-power plants
and other heavy industries.
The measure also requires utilities
to generate 15 percent of their electricity supplies from renewable
energy sources by 2020.
Waxman and other supporters hail the
bill as the first of its kind to seriously address climate change. But
it faces likely changes in other House committees, and its passage in
the Senate is not assured.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.