Climate Change Bill Introduced to Congress

The Waxman-Markey bill doesn't apportion the revenues received from the sale of carbon credits, a key issue yet to be decided. Renewable electricity, greener cars, low carbon fuels, and a carbon reduction goal are all parts of this comprehensive bill

"The draft measure, written by Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, sets a slightly more ambitious goal for capping greenhouse gases than Mr. Obama's proposal.

The bill would require every region of the country to produce a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2025.

The bill also calls for modernization of the electrical grid, production of more electric vehicles and significant increases in efficiency in buildings, appliances and the generation of electricity.

But the Waxman-Markey proposal does not address two of the most difficult issues in any global warming plan: the distribution of pollution allowances and a specific timetable for achieving emissions reductions. It also does not say how most of the tens of billions of dollars raised from auctioning pollution permits would be spent, or whether the revenue would be returned to consumers to compensate for higher energy bills. Those matters have been left to negotiations,

Under Mr. Obama's plan, roughly two-thirds of the revenue from pollution permit auctions would be returned to the public in tax breaks. Some members of Congress from both parties want to see all the revenue from any carbon-reduction plan returned to the public in some form."

A coalition of business and environmental groups, the United States Climate Action Partnership, welcomed the measure as a "strong starting point" for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and said it had incorporated many of its recommendations."

From Congressional Discussion Draft Summary:

"One key issue that the discussion draft does not address is how to allocate the tradable emission allowances that restrict the amount of global warming pollution emitted by electric utilities, oil companies, and other sources. This issue will be addressed through discussions among Committee members."

Thanks to Ned Ford

Full Story: Democrats Unveil Global Warming Bill

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Cap & Dividend Bill Introduced by MD Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D)

I'm not sure how interested readers are in Federal climate change legislation - it's good to just keep abreast of some of the issues, because they are now heating-up (couldn't let that one go by!).

Van Hollen's bill "will cut carbon pollution to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. It auctions 100% of the carbon permits - instead of giving them away to large polluters -- and allows for no potentially complex "carbon offsets" of any kind."

A key issue to watch is whether credits are given or auctioned. The latter is about the closest thing to a carbon tax.....without being a carbon tax.

For more information, see "Rep. Van Hollen Unveils Cap and Dividend Bill - State Groups Offer Their Praise"

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Keep Carbon Cap Simple

I do think it is a good thing to keep it simple, which a cap and 100% auction does. By contrast, in addition to cap and trade, the Waxman bill

"would require every region of the country to produce a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2025."

This has absolutely no advantage over a pure cap and auction. Emissions will come down to exactly the cap level with or without this added mandate to produce electricity from renewable sources. The only thing the mandate adds is that it might make it come down to the cap level in a more expensive way.

On the other hand, I am a bit dubious about this bill allowing "no potentially complex "carbon offsets" of any kind," since offsets would let us reach the cap level more cheaply - if they are not so complex that they fail to work.

Charles Siegel

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