Democratic Bill Would Bolster Carbon Emissions Goals, Overhaul Tax Credits

Democrats introduced legislation to combat climate change while creating jobs.

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Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that they said would combat the effects of climate change while creating jobs.

The measure stands no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate — not to mention the GOP-run House — but sends a signal to voters about the caucus' environmental priorities.

"This is going to be a huge issue in the 2016 campaign," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat expected to succeed the retiring Harry Reid as Democratic leader.

The proposal would require a 2 percent reduction in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions each year through 2025, or at least 34 percent overall. That target exceeds the Obama administration's goal of 26 percent to 28 percent.

The Democratic bill would also extend tax credits for clean energy and stipulate that utilities must curb energy spending by 20 percent by 2030. Tax incentives for oil and gas producers and refiners, meanwhile, would be repealed.

“This bill is built around the proposition that the law ought to reward clean energy with incentives that spark innovation in the private economy," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

The bill would not include a cap-and-trade system for carbon that failed amid intense opposition in 2010.

The legislation's introduction coincides with a visit by Pope Francis — who earlier this year called for addressing environmental problems — and ahead of a United Nation conference on climate change set to begin in Paris later this year.

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