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12 May 2009: Climate Bill May Contain
Free Permits, Lower Renewables Goal

Roughly half of the permits issued to major carbon dioxide emitters will initially be given away for free, rather than auctioned, according to cap-and-trade legislation being hammered out in a key congressional committee. ClimateWire reported that Henry Waxman, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is working on a plan that would give away about 35 percent of total emissions permits to utilities, 10 to 15 percent to trade-intensive industries such as steel and cement, and up to 5 percent to petroleum refiners. In addition, Waxman is expected to agree to lower the national target for renewable energy generation from about 25 percent of the country’s energy needs by 2020 to roughly 20 percent, with some of that target being met by improved energy efficiency. Waxman and some members of the Obama administration had hoped to require all major carbon dioxide emitters to purchase emissions permits at auction, but cap-and-trade proponents have had to soften their stance to win over conservative Democrats. The legislation, if approved by the full Congress, would move to a 100 percent auction system within 10 to 15 years, ClimateWire reported.

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