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Warm-up for a global-warming law

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The Senate bill would mandate that US emissions of greenhouse gases be cut to 19 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and up to 71 percent by 2050. The bill also proposes a $800 billion “tax relief fund” over the next four decades to help Americans pay energy bills.

“Senators have come together across party lines to write a law that will not only enable us to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming, but will create millions of new jobs and put us on the path to energy independence,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) of California, in the Democratic response to Bush’s weekly radio address on Saturday.

Senator Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, is presenting an amended version of a bill first sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut and John Warner (R) of Virginia.

The bill proposes establishing a trading system for carbon-emission credits that supporters say will give companies a market incentive to reduce greenhouse gases. Critics say it creates a vast new federal bureaucracy at a high cost to the US economy and taxpayers.

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