U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released the text of the Chairman’s Mark of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733).Senator Boxer said, “We’ve reached another milestone as we move to a clean energy future, creating millions of jobs, and protecting our children from dangerous pollution. I look forward to the hearings and the markup as we move ahead to the next step.”

That’s from the EPW news release from late Friday night.  The full text of the Chairman’s Mark is here [big PDF].  The main difference between this text and the draft of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act released late last month is that it “specifies distribution of emissions allowances” (details here).  The allowance allocations are similar to the house bill but not identical, but the bottom line is the same — “Ensures that the majority of investments in the bill are for consumer protection” (see also Harvard economist Stavins here).

Equally important for moving the bill forward in an expeditious manner, the EPA released its analysis of the Chairman’s Mark (click here).  EPW described that analysis and the process going forward:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also released a detailed economic analysis of The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that found no significant change in the estimated cost to American families, compared with H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey legislation passed this summer by the House of Representatives. EPA’s analysis of the House bill found that “average household consumption would be reduced by less than 1 percent in all years” compared with a business-as-usual scenario, and estimated the overall impact on the average household would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Environment and Public Works Committee will start comprehensive legislative hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Senators will hear testimony from nine panels totaling 54 witnesses over the course of three days. Senator Boxer has indicated that the EPW Committee will mark up the legislation as soon as possible following the completion of legislative hearings.

These results are comparable to the major analyses of the House bill:

The Senate EPW bill, of course, doesn’t include all of the efficiency provisions in the House bill, since that is the domain of the Senate energy committee which has already passed out its legislation (which is considerably wimpier on efficiency than the House).  The result (page 14 of EPA):

In total, because there is no provision comparable to the CERES in H.R. 2454, the building codes provision does not specify target energy use reduction levels or provide federal authorities to ensure compliance, and the energy efficiency-related allowance allocations are lower, EPA expects the impacts (e.g., changes in energy demand and prices) of energy efficiency provisions in S. 1733 to be approximately half those estimated in our  analysis of H.R. 2454.

This suggests an important strategy for progressives when the bill reaches the Senate floor or when the bill gets to a House Senate conference:  If moderates and conservatives are going to insist on major expansions of policies and incentives for nuclear power, coal with carbon capture and storage, drilling, and natural gas, then progressives need to fight to keep the House efficiency provisions in the final bill.

One final point, in its analysis, EPA also looks at the climate bill in the context of international action, to see what the full impact might be in various scenarios:

  1. Reference: no climate polices or measures adopted by any countries.
  2. G8 – International Assumptions: consistent with G8 agreement to reduce global emissions to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. U.S. and other developed countries reduce emissions to 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and developing countries cap emissions beginning in 2025, and return emissions to 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. All countries hold emissions targets constant after 2050.
  3. Developing Countries After 2050: U.S. and developed countries same as G8 scenario. Developing countries adopt policy in 2050 holding emissions constant at 2050 levels.

The result:

In the reference scenario, CO2e concentrations in 2100 would rise to approximately 936 ppm [aka “Hell and High Water “].  If the U.S. and other developing countries took action to reduce emissions to 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and developing countries took no action until 2050, then CO2e concentrations in 2100 would rise to approximately 647 ppm. If the G8 goals are met, then CO2e concentrations would rise to approximately 485 ppm in 2100. It should be noted that CO2e concentrations are not stabilized in these scenarios. To prevent concentrations from continuing to rise after 2100, post-2100 GHG emissions would need to be further reduced. For example, stabilization of CO2e concentrations at 485 ppm would require net CO2e emissions to go to zero in the very long run after 2100.

Given the CO2e concentrations for the various scenarios, we can also calculate the observed change in global mean temperature (from pre-industrial time) in 2100 under different climate sensitivities. Assuming the G8 goals (reducing global emissions to 50 percent below 2005 by 2050) are met, warming in 2100 would be limited to no more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels under a climate sensitivity of 3.0 or lower.

So the Senate climate bill is consistent with a set of international policies that keep warming at levels that greatly reduce the risk of catastrophic impacts.