WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman unveiled a long-awaited bill Wednesday that aims to curtail pollution blamed for global warming, reduce oil imports and create millions of energy-related jobs.

The 987-page bill, the product of more than seven months of negotiations and tweaked recently in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, also includes new protections for offshore drilling and for the first time would set a price on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and other large polluters.

The legislation aims to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and by more than 80 percent by 2050. Both targets are measured against 2005 levels and are the same as those set by a House bill approved last year.

“We can finally tell the world that America is ready to take back our role as the world’s clean energy leader,” Kerry, D-Mass., said at a news conference, surrounded by environmentalists and leaders from an array of energy companies.

“This is a bill for energy independence after a devastating oil spill, a bill to hold polluters accountable, a bill for billions of dollars to create the next generation of jobs and a bill to end America’s addiction to foreign oil,” Kerry said, calling stakes for the legislation “sky high.”

Lieberman, I-Conn., predicted the bill would pass, citing what he called a growing and unprecedented coalition of business, national security, faith and environmental leaders who are “energized” to work for it.

He and Kerry said in an interview that Senate colleagues have been surprised at the strong support from business leaders, including oil companies, major utilities and the nuclear power industry. Among those in attendance at Wednesday’s news conference were Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of North Carolina-based Duke Energy; Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents shareholder-owned electric companies, and Lew Hay, chairman and CEO of FPL Group Inc., a Florida-based utility.

The bill also is supported by most environmental groups. A coalition of 22 groups, including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund and The Wilderness Society, endorsed the bill in a joint letter.

President Obama added his support, saying the nation must work to end its dependence on fossil fuels.

“The challenges we face — underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico — are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation’s energy policies,” Obama said in a statement. “For too long, Washington has kicked this challenge to the next generation.”