Top Senators to Heat Up Climate Change Debate

New bill aims for 20 percent CO2 cuts by 2020

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    Sen. Boxer plans to release a new bill on climate change today.

    Senate Democrats plan to heat things up today with a new bill that seeks a 20 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 from 2005 levels.

    Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and  John Kerry's (D-Mass) new bill would aim higher than the 17 percent cut in emissions required under House legislation, according to reports.

    Any progress before December would strengthen the U.S.’s negotiation position going into international talks, The New York Times reported. But Republican critics have already lined up against the Senate bill, charging that Boxer and Kerry have not been specific enough about how to allot permits in a cap and trade system.

    "It is imperative that we have a complete bill well in advance of legislative hearings and markup," all seven GOP members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote in a letter to Boxer on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Otherwise the legislative process will not paint a full and accurate picture of your legislation to the American people."

    Get more: Wall Street Journal, Reuters, New York Times