September 10 2009, 12:01 PM
Forget for a moment the major health care reform debate in Congress, and consider another high-stakes bill---the one that would address climate change. While the measure has sparked concerns from many corners---everyone from agriculture advocates to the Helicopter Association International---it harbors many potential benefits, along with a few surprises. For one, Colorado could reap 7,100 jobs in the coming decade under the bill, which the U.S. Senate is expected to consider soon, reports the Denver Business Journal, citing research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington. The bill aims to cut pollution from utilities and factories that emit greenhouse gases---by 17 percent (based on its 2005 levels) by 2020---creating a "cap-and-trade" system that limits overall emissions by allowing polluters to trade permits among themselves. There are signs that the legislation will pass. Democrats and Republicans are working out compromises, including the addition of a measure that allows for the expansion of nuclear power, as some Republicans have demanded (via The Wall Street Journal). U.S. Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat, recently said he would support more nuclear power in the bill.