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Senate moves quickly to introduce climate change bill

Liberal senators are helping President Barack Obama make good on his plan to address climate change during his second term, and are set to announce comprehensive legislation on the topic later this week.

Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will hold a news conference on Thursday to announce new legislation that would put a fee on carbon dioxide emissions to help fund green-energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.

The legislation would also compensate consumers for higher energy bills.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama threatened to use his executive authority if Congress failed to act on climate change.

“But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” Obama added. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

Environmentalists have been putting pressure on Obama to go it alone and use his executive authority to address climate change, primarily through the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, last month White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration had “no intention of proposing a carbon tax.”

A study by the Institute for Energy Research argued that a revenue-neutral carbon tax could be a “cure worse than the disease.”

“The dismal record of the U.S. government in implementing efficient climate change policies is hardly evidence in favor of a massive new carbon tax (or cap-and-trade program),” wrote the study’s author, IER senior economist Robert Murphy. “[S]uch a new program will be abused in the political process, and will not be tailored to the recommendations of climate scientists and environmental economists.”

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