U.S. Chamber chief: Senate Dems ‘running’ from House climate bill

The House bill creates an economy-wide “cap-and-trade” system to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas output by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. It also contains scores of energy-related provisions, such as a national renewable electricity mandate, more efficient building codes, and a "green bank" to expand financing for low-emissions energy projects.

Senate Democrats hope to bring a climate change and energy bill to the floor in 2010 but the shape of the measure remains in flux.

The Chamber and several other business groups say the House bill would raise costs for consumers and businesses, and damage U.S. competitiveness. Supporters, meanwhile, say the bill’s cost-containment measures will keep price increases minimal, and that it will create large numbers of jobs in alternative energy sectors.

Donohue reiterated the Chamber’s call for expanded U.S. production of all types of energy – including oil, natural gas, "clean" coal and nuclear power. He called for measures to address delays, financial risks and "legal uncertainties" that he said are slowing efforts to build the first new U.S. nuclear reactors in decades.

My colleague Ian has posted a broader story on Donohue’s wide-ranging speech.