A bill to require the electric power, industrial and transportation fuel sectors to cut greenhouse gas emissions has cleared its first Senate hurdle, but narrowly. A subcommittee on Nov. 1 approved the bill, drafted by Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), by a 4-3 vote. The measure would hold greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels in 2012 and tighten the cap to 70% less than 2005 levels by 2050. It also has a system for trading emissions allowances.

Environmental groups want something tougher than the Lieberman-Warner bill, but utilities call the measure “aggressive” and predict it would cost consumers billions of dollars. The next step, a vote by the full Environment and Public Works Committee, won’t come until after the panel holds two hearings on the legislation.