Cap-and-Trade: Will Congress Give Away Its Appropriations Authority?
Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191), the Senate global warming emissions cap-and-trade bill undergoing markup next week, generates a emissions trading system with an estimated lifetime (from inception to 2050) net worth on the order of three to four trillion dollars, in the form of emissions credits given away for free and revenues generated from the auction of the remaining credits.
L-W establishes two independent entities to administer the allocation and appropriations of such funds, taking the direct appropriations authority away from Congress for the lifetime of the bill.
Carbon Market Efficiency Board (Title II, Subtitle F; sec. 2601-2605)
The authority to change the percentage of offsets or foreign credits used and the terms of borrowing allowances against future years is vested in the Carbon Market Efficiency Board, a executive-branch entity with seven members who each serve staggered 14-year terms. The Board is appointed directly by the President and is not part of any existing department.
Climate Change Credit Corporation (Title IV, Subtitle B; sec. 4201-4203)
The Climate Change Credit Corporation, a non-profit private federal corporation, will administer the auctions, the revenues thereof to be split into four distinct funds in the Treasury, the Energy Assistance Fund, Climate Change Worker Training Fund, Adaptation Fund, and the Climate Change and National Security Fund.
The Corporation has five members appointed by the president, no more than three from one political party, who serve five year terms. The Corporation has complete authority of the allocation of the Energy Assistance Fund (55% of the revenues, over one trillion dollars) within general allocation ranges for particular technologies (28% for CCS, 20% for vehicles, etc.).
The remaining funds are put under the jurisdiction of existing programs or Cabinet secretaries.