California Sen. Barbara Boxer predicted on Tuesday Congress will draft greenhouse gas cap-and-trade legislation before the international climate change negotiation in Copenhagen in December.

The chair of the Senate environment and public works committee said she reached agreement with other Democrats on the committee to offer six broad but vague principles that will guide any future climate change legislation.

The principles include: reducing emissions to levels recommended by science to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; enforceable short- and long-term emissions targets; setting up a carbon market; cleantech investment; support for local and state governments to help adapt to climate change; and supporting developing nations.

The announcement drew both praise and criticism. The chairman and CEO of electricity provider FPL Group hailed Boxer for offering a path forward on climate change.

“By releasing these principles, she has demonstrated that if we muster the political will, we can pass meaningful climate change legislation this year,” Lew hay said in a statement. “We must create a new clean-energy economy for the 21st century -- one that will create jobs and help pull our economy out of recession, strengthen our energy security, and address the threat of global climate change.”

Sen. James M. Inhofe, the top Republican on the panel from Oklahoma who is skeptical of climate change, issued a statement of his own.

"At a time when Congress is debating a near-term multi-billion-dollar bailout for the American economy, once again the Democrats are proposing principles for climate legislation that will impose a long-term multi-trillion-dollar energy tax on families and workers,” he said.