White House to Congress: Energy-only bill would be ‘unfortunate’

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) plan to roll out a bill later this month that limits greenhouse gas emissions while expanding federal support for nuclear power, offshore oil-and-gas drilling and low-emissions coal projects, among other measures.

Their bill will break with the “economy-wide” cap-and-trade plan to cut emissions that the House approved in 2009.

Instead, the Senate bill is expected to employ a hybrid approach that includes a cap-and-trade plan for power plants (with limits on other industrial plants to be phased in later), and a carbon fee to address emissions from motor fuels.

But any emissions caps are controversial and face big hurdles in the Senate.

Some lawmakers are pressing Democratic leaders to instead take up a more limited package of measures on energy efficiency and production of traditional and alternative sources.

Browner spoke at an event about innovations in home energy management, such as systems that provide residents with detailed and real-time information about their power consumption.

“Giving people this kind of real-time feedback will start to change not only their behavior, which is important, but equally important it will start to drive the demand for more efficient appliances,” Browner said.