This brief compares key elements of two bills currently under consideration in Congress. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (CEJAP Act) on November 5, 2009. It provides a comprehensive, economy-wide approach to achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by capping emissions, using a combination of auctions and free allocations for distributing allowances, and allowing firms to trade and purchase offsets to reduce compliance costs. It also includes a range of complementary measures aimed at spurring technology development and reducing emissions outside the cap.
The second bill, introduced by Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Collins, is the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act (CLEAR Act). Like the CEJAP Act, the CLEAR Act caps greenhouse gas emissions, but the approaches used in these bills differ significantly. The CLEAR Act puts limits on carbon emissions. It auctions all of the allowances with most of the revenue returned to individuals and the remainder allocated to a fund that could be used to support technology, reduce emissions from sources outside the cap, and assist workers, communities or sectors adversely impacted, among other purposes. This brief describes the key features of each bill and Table 1 at the end of the brief contains a side-by-side comparison of the bills.