A gang of environmental groups are calling the current proposed energy and security act a sham, another government giveaway. The bill has just passed out of the House Committee where debate was held.
Here's the crux of some environmnentalists' complaint: "As passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee, the American Clean Energy and Security Act sets targets for reducing pollution that are far weaker than science says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. The targets are far less ambitious than what is achievable with already existing technology. They are further undermined by massive loopholes that could allow the most polluting industries to avoid real emission reductions until 2027."
One lobbying orgnaization led by a board of governmental and business execs is pleased with the bill. Here's the Center for Clean Air Policy's take: "“Passage of The American Clean Energy and Security Act today out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee marks an historic turn on the road toward enacting comprehensive energy and climate change legislation in the United States.
“Through their staunch commitment to this issue, Chairmen Waxman and Markey have demonstrated it is possible to craft legislation that meets the needs of industry, workers and consumers today while investing in America’s future and protecting future generations from the worst effects of climate change.
“By steadfastly sticking with strong emissions targets and providing financing for reducing deforestation in developing countries, the bill will strengthen the hands of U.S. climate negotiators as they head to Bonn next week and Copenhagen later this year."MSM accounts hail the proposed law as the first-ever U.S. restriction on greenhouse gas emissions. As a symbol that is a huge step away from climate change denial toward giving lip-service to reducing global warming.
As written the bill creates a cap-and-trade system in the U.S. That program would get underway in 2016. 85% of the pollution credits, pollute-for-free permits, will be given away by the feds. Unneeded permits can be sold bo corporations on a competitive market, hence cap (your emissions) and trade (your permits). This is sorta like the massive land giveaway to 19th Century railroads, or the huge subsidies we taxpayers provide fossil fuels and agribusiness. If your coal-burning plant is pouring out lots of CO2 right now, you get a permit for that. The idea being you will then clean up your act os you can sell the permit to some other polluter. Over time the permits would allow less and less CO2 or other emission. Cap and trade has always been seen as more business-friendly than an outright tax on CO2 and other pollution. THat would be a dread "carbon tax."
Here's a blog on how Europe's Cap And Trade (CAT) has worked out.Much opposition to the current bill remains, not just from Republicans. CAT has never carried a single vote in the US Senate, which has yet to take up this version. The full House may vote this summer, but the Senate is expected to push the whole thing into next calendar year. Long after Copehagen.