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Boxer: ‘America Has Already Acted’ on Climate Change

With international climate change negotiators meeting in Copenhagen this week, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Monday sought to make the case that the U.S. has already begun working to tackle the problem.“America has already acted. We continue to act. And we are doing more every day,— Boxer said in a speech squarely aimed at the international community.“Our nation will be a full participant in crafting a global solution to this global challenge,— she added.Boxer had originally intended to make the speech in Copenhagen during the United Nations climate change talks. But with the Senate continuing to work on health care reform, she has been forced to cancel her trip.Boxer noted that states and local governments have already begun taking steps toward curbing carbon emissions and said the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to enact its own carbon emissions rules will provide Members an incentive to negotiate on a bill. “It should spur to the table people like [Sen.] Robert Byrd,— a Democrat from West Virginia, and other coal-state lawmakers who have increasingly become interested in developing legislation, Boxer said.Boxer also said she remains committed to completing a comprehensive energy and climate change bill in the next year, saying that Democrats hope to move a bill that includes provisions from her proposal as well as other committees’ ideas. “We will go forward. … they will all be melded together,— Boxer said. She added that the final product “will be a real combination.—Meanwhile, Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Friday introduced their own climate change legislation. Their bill would sell carbon emission allowances to power companies and other polluters to help reduce overall emissions. The Cantwell-Collins bill is the latest entry in an already-crowded climate change legislative scene. In addition to Boxer’s bill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has already produced its own version, while the Finance; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Foreign Relations committees are also expected to move bills.Additionally, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last week produced a broad framework that they hope will act as the basis for a final compromise bill.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has committed to bringing climate change legislation to the floor next spring.

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