Obama

While Europe has an active Cap and Trade system, “there is minimal interest” for one in the United States according to a top Republican in the United States Senate.

Senator Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday there was barely any support in that chamber for passing cap and trade legislation which aims to control global warming.

Responding to a reporter’s question McConnell said “I would say there is minimal enthusiasm, and that’s putting it mildly for cap and trade.”

Passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009, under a cap and trade program lower and lower limits would be put on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the next forty years.

Companies would be required to hold permits for each ton of carbon they emit and those permits could be traded in a regulated market.

Adding to the uncertainty of the program’s future is the results of the Massachusetts election on Tuesday night. The once strongly held Democratic riding was won by the Republican party, shifting the balance in the Senate and possibly derailing not only the Cap and Trade program but other initiatives of the Obama administration.

In other related news, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski has said she may not seek passage of an amendment that would stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions for the first time. Senator Murkowski made news when she hinted she would be challenging the EPA and that her amendment was in part drafted with help from big oil lobbyists.

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Instead she says her inclination is to pursue a slightly different legislative route – passage of a joint resolution in the Senate and House – that would have the same impact but would face different procedural rules.

The Obama administration has been using the threat of EPA regulation to try to encourage some lawmakers to get behind legislation that would be more comprehensive and give industry more opportunity to have a say in environmental policy.

A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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