When U.S. lawmakers recently approved legislation to limit U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, it was widely hailed as an important new step in confronting climate change. Under the Bush administration, the United States refused to join other industrialized nations in capping emissions, arguing that to do so would add unfair costs to business and blunt its competitive edge.

But the applause for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party in pushing for a cap-and-trade law in Congress has since diminished as critics scrutinize the details. One provision that has caused concern was slipped in shortly before the House of Representatives passed the bill on June 26.

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