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Of Greenhouse Gases and Greenbacks

from the Los Angeles Times (Registration Required)

WASHINGTON—A major climate-change measure goes before the Senate this week for the first time since Democrats declared it a priority after taking control of Congress, but the long-awaited debate is ranging beyond the effects of global warming. It also is focusing on Washington's most primal issue, money.

The bill would impose new pollution regulations on industries while significantly expanding another business, carbon "offsetting." Billions of dollars would potentially be available for farmers who offered polluters a way to make amends for excess emissions—a provision that could attract crucial support from farm-state lawmakers.

"I definitely think this debate will be primarily about economics, because there are very few voices left who want to argue about whether or not global warming is really a problem," said Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council climate center, a bill supporter.

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