Senate Approves Climate Change Bill

California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk The U.S. Senate voted to approve a major climate change…

Senate Approves Climate Change Bill

California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk

California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk

The U.S. Senate voted to approve a major climate change bill that aims to reduce the risk from fire in California, a state that has been hit hard by the most destructive wildfires in terms of both human casualties and property loss.

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Senate passed the climate bill, which aims to cut emissions from fossil fuel use by about 40 percent by 2030, using a strategy that will also require power plants to close if carbon dioxide pollution trends continue.

House members voted to approve the measure in an even more partisan vote.

The Senate’s approval came in a day after key members of the Democrat-led California delegation, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, announced their support for the bill, which was passed in the GOP-controlled House late Tuesday. In a statement, Feinstein said there’s “not a single thing wrong with the bill” and that it “saves lives, creates new jobs, strengthens the economy and reduces the state’s severe climate impacts.”

The bill is also a significant victory for environmental and energy interests, which have struggled for years to stop the federal government from taking any action on climate change. Many of those interests have argued that the legislation would be a bad deal because it would allow companies to continue to buy pollution credits that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time cutting off those credits for businesses that move out of California and other states.

The biggest criticism of the bill is that it isn’t binding, meaning companies do not have to comply with the new rules on climate and pollution, as they would in most other climate legislation.

The issue is likely to become a key point of contention in the weeks ahead, as Republicans try to repeal the legislation along with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement that the bill passed by the Senate “will do the most damage to our economy and our climate for the next generation.”

The measure also seeks to give California the opportunity to submit a plan for reducing emissions by 2020.

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