US Senate More Likely To Pass Energy Bill Than Climate Change Legislation

The US Senate is more likely to focus on a bi-partisan energy bill than to pass climate change legislation this year, after having gone through the contentious health care debate, according to a Democratic senator earlier this week.

As part of an energy bill, energy efficiency technology could be placed as a preferred option for the business and public building sectors. Implementing energy saving systems in those sectors could, alone, provide a massive contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions, and help reach the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set.

The Energy Saving Association (ESA) and its members are united in the desire to work towards the reduction of energy consumption. ESA Council Member, Tim Ashmore, comments on the potential impact of energy efficiency improvements: "With the industry sector accounting for one third of total global emissions, upgrading to energy efficient systems in the work place could potentially revolutionise that industry's polluting capacity - emissions would be drastically cut, as would the energy costs currently endured due to ever increasing energy prices."

US Democratic attention is being directed towards smoothing out the differences between sweeping bills passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, to revamp the $2.5 trillion U.S. health-care system, currently the top domestic priority for US President Barack Obama.

During a conference call, Senator Byron Dorgan, as part of the Senate Democratic Leadership, told reporters: "It is my assessment that we likely will not do climate change this year, but will do an energy bill instead."

Dorgan's comments therefore contest Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's opinion, who has announced that the Senate would take up a climate change bill to cap and then reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, as early as spring 2010.

Mr. Dorgan explained that legislation that has already been cleared by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would be easier to pass.

"My own sense is that in the aftermath of a very, very heavy lift on health care, I think it is unlikely that the Senate will turn next to the very complicated and very controversial subject of cap-and-trade, climate change kind of legislation," Dorgan said. "I think it is more compelling to turn to an energy bill that is bi-partisan."

Such legislation would require more U.S. electricity supplies to be generated from renewable sources (wind and solar for example), and expand offshore drilling into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which holds almost 4 billion barrels of oil.

Dorgan hopes the full Senate will pass the energy bill by the end of June, even though the measure would still have to clear the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the President, prior to taking effect.

Wednesday 20th January 2010

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