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Senate Bill May Mark New Start for Climate Legislation

Senate Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over 2005 levels. But with health care dominating the national debate, is Congress ready to tackle more big legislation? Jeffrey Brown talks to a reporter for more.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And still to come on the NewsHour tonight: building a new kind of house; dangerous driving; and engaging Myanmar.

    That follows our look at a new climate bill. Jeffrey Brown has that story.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The new proposal, presented today by two Senate Democrats — Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts — would establish mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, affecting thousands of plants and facilities around the nation.

    Among its many provisions are measures to cut emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2020; cap emissions allowances for industry; and create a market for companies to buy and sell pollution permits; and offer incentives for natural gas and nuclear power, as well as for sustainable farming.

    Senator Kerry said there was a fundamental reason to act soon.

  • SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-Mass.:

    We introduced this legislation because of one word: security. Economic security, energy security, national security.

    America knows that that is the battle that we face right now, and the fact is that what is in this bill provides an ability for America to get back into the driver's seat and take back control of our own security and take charge of our future.

    We have a chance to put millions of people back to work, leading the world in a new economic era. We can safeguard the air that our children breathe, the water that people drink. We can stabilize a dangerously changing climate.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The house passed its own bill earlier this year. Today, President Obama renewed his pledge to passing a new energy law.

    And for more on the bill and the political climate surrounding climate issues, we're joined by Juliet Eilperin, national environmental reporter for the Washington Post.

    Welcome.

  • JULIET EILPERIN, Washington Post:

    Thanks.

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