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The George C. Marshall Institute has released two new studies on the Economic, Environmental, and Energy Security Consequences of a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
In the News
Embracing Trendy Green Policies did not Help the British Tories
Iain Murray and Matthew Sinclair, National Review Online, 1 April 2009
Chris Horner, Human Events, 1 April 2009
We're Experiencing a Very Deep Solar Minimum
NASA, Science.NASA.gov, 1 April 2009
Climate Change Scepticism is Going Mainstream
Chris Ayres, TimesOnline, 1 April 2009
The Obama Administration Risks a Cap and Trade War
Wall Street Journal, 30 March 2009
F. James Sensenbrenner, Wall Street Journal, 3 April 2009
Wall Street Journal, 3 April 2009
The Heritage Foundry, 31 March 2009
News You Can Use
Gallup Poll: Global Warming Ranks Last among Environmental Worries
Global warming is the environmental issue of least concern to Americans, according to a Gallup public opinion poll released this week. Respondents were asked about their level of worry of 8 environmental issues, and global warming placed 8th. Clean drinking water was their first concern.
More News You Can Use
Moody’s: Cap-and-Trade Would Raise Energy Prices 30%
Reuters reports that U.S. electricity prices are likely to rise 15 to 30 percent if a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions is instituted, according to a report by Moody's Investors Service.
Inside the Beltway
Climate Alarmists Confirmed for Top Science Posts
The House Energy and Commerce Committee this week released a draft of the energy-rationing bill that Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) plan to mark up in May. The official summary of the bill can be found here and the text of the draft bill here. The centerpiece of the 648-page bill is a cap-and-trade program, but it contains many other provisions designed to constrict energy supplies and raise prices.
These include a renewable mandate for electric utilities, funding for carbon capture and storage technology research and a performance standard for new coal-fired power plants, a low carbon transportation fuel standard, new emissions standards for trains, ships, and heavy equipment, developing a smart grid that can control your thermostat, new energy efficiency standards for buildings, appliances, utilities, industries, and government facilities. All this is quite surprising. A cap-and-trade program works best if there aren’t a lot of other overlapping programs. Adding all these new programs means that emission reductions achieved by cap-and-trade would come at a much higher cost. It implies that Representatives Waxman and Markey don’t have much faith in cap-and-trade, which suggests that they have been paying attention to the failing European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
Also of note is a requirement that utilities “must demonstrate that its customers have achieved a required level of cumulative electricity or natural gas savings relative to business-as-usual projections.” It sounds like the bill would do for the family home what the Obama Administration has done to General Motors. Instead of pre-empting California’s emission standards for new vehicles, Waxman and Markey would direct the executive branch to try to harmonize federal and conflicting state auto fuel economy programs. However, the draft bill does pre-empt the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That is a notable recognition that doing so would create a regulatory nightmare.
The cap-and-trade provisions are peculiar and complicated and will require much closer study than I have given them. The baseline year is 2005, and the targets for emissions reductions are -3% by 2012, -20% by 2020, -42% by 2030, and -83% by 2050. It appears that the initial reductions could be met through the current economic downturn and by buying a few carbon offsets rather than by making emissions reductions. Indeed, the carbon offset provisions are remarkably generous. The cap-and-trade title would also create a huge “strategic reserve” of rationing coupons that could be sold “in case prices rise faster than expected.” The draft bill does not say how many of the rationing coupons would be given away for free and how many would be auctioned. That decision will apparently be made later after the various special interests have a chance to threaten and plead for more than their share.
Waxman and Markey also include provisions to create a trade war and destroy the World Trade Organization.They call it “ensuring domestic competitiveness.” Similar provisions to “assist” consumers with higher energy bills were left blank and are to be filled in later.
The most astonishing thing in the Waxman-Markey draft is that they state openly that the cap-and-trade provisions “are modeled closely on the recommendations of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership.” That is to say, the powerful big business special interests that are to be regulated got to write their own regulations. I wonder who will benefit from that, consumers or the big companies that belong to US CAP? I seem to recall that Chairman Waxman has criticized and even investigated Republicans who introduced bills that were written by outside special interests.That was different, I guess. The second most astonishing thing is how little attention the mainstream media and environmental pressure groups have given to the fact that the regulated are being allowed to write the regulations.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen introduced an alternative cap-and-trade bill this week as well.It’s H. R. XXXX.
Senators passed their version of the budget resolution by a 55-43 margin on Thursday. Several amendments related to the President’s budget proposal to raise $646 billion in federal revenues from a cap-and-trade program were voted and adopted. The Senate agreed on a 67 to 31 vote to an amendment offered by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) that says that cap-and-trade should not be included in budget reconciliation legislation. Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered and so require only a simple majority to pass.
Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) amendment that states that revenues derived from selling rationing coupons under cap-and-trade should be used to help people pay their higher energy bills was passed by a 54 to 43 vote. But then the Senate passed a competing amendment from Senator John Thune (R-SD) by an 89 to 8 margin. It states that any energy-rationing legislation passed should not raise energy or gasoline prices. And by a 54 to 44 vote, Senators agreed to an amendment offered by Senator Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) that urges that any climate legislation passed does not cause significant job losses.
Some people are claiming that passing the Thune amendment means that cap-and-trade is dead in the Senate because cap-and-trade would only work if it raised energy prices. But all these votes are hortatory and non-binding on future Senate votes. The unavoidable reality is that the colossal revenues that can be generated by auctioning cap-and-trade rationing coupons are an irresistible prospect for many in Congress. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) told the Washington Post that cap-and-trade was “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time” (you can almost hear his lips smacking). Or as I have been putting it, the biggest tax increase in history. So a House-Senate conference committee on the budget could still decide to use budget reconciliation to sneak cap-and-trade through the Senate.
Around the World
New Spanish Study Shows Folly of Green Job Subsidies
In the States
The California State Senate voted this week to increase their Renewable Portfolio