House staffer draws interest in Barcelona

You know something’s afoot when a 9 a.m. talk by a U.S. House staffer draws more than 50 people. But it happened at an EDF panel on U.S. legislation at the climate talks in Barcelona — where U.S. moves to cap carbon emissions are a major topic of interest.

Joel Beauvais, Counsel for the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, explained elements of the U.S. lawmaking process, such as reconciliation between House and Senate bills, to a rapt audience of government, business and civil society representatives.

Beauvais regaled listeners with information about the U.S. climate and energy legislation passed by the House in June – now making its way through the Senate – which would cap and lower U.S. emissions, setting the first U.S. target to lower global warming emissions.

The legislation would also allow emissions trading, channeling money to those who cut fastest and allowing big emitters to trade offsets to lower their own emissions control costs. It would allow for a small percentage of high-quality international offsets in the U.S. market.

Everyone here in Barcelona wants to know how the new rules for emissions trading will work in the world’s biggest economy. Environment ministers and delegates from all over the world are meeting here this week to hash out a new global climate treaty.

Beauvais spoke on an EDF panel on the topic of how U.S. legislation will fit with global emissions trading under a new treaty. The legislation will make the U.S. a major contributor to global efforts to stop climate change.

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