Debate on Cap and Trade with Environmental Defense

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 08 Aug 2007 20:37:00 GMT

Environmental Defense was one of several prominent environmental groups to embrace the Lieberman-Warner proposal:
Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law.
Matt Stoller of Open Left, who has been highly skeptical of all cap-and-trade approaches, let alone the Lieberman-Warner proposal, wrote this analysis yesterday:
Anyway, the bill Bush is going to get behind is the Lieberman-Warner bill, opposed by the Sierra Club but supported by the intensely corporate-friendly and compromised Environmental Defense. There’s a green civil war coming, with ED President Fred Krupp playing the role of the DLC. The other environmental groups are split, with the Pew Center and the Nature Conservancy following Krupp over the cliff. The Union of Concerned Scientists and NRDC are ‘concerned’, and the LCV and the Sierra Club are clear that this is a bad move. If you want to see a dysfunctional, degraded, and compromised movement that have lost touch with their mission statements, look no further than ED, Pew, and the Nature Conservancy.
Today, Tony Kreindler of ED responded on Stoller’s site. Here’s an excerpt:
What Lieberman and Warner have offered is a blueprint for a climate bill with an airtight emissions cap and a market for carbon that will spur investment in cost-effective emissions reductions. They also have a plan for managing economic impacts, and importantly, it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the emissions cap. Does that favor corporations over the environment? We don’t think so, and we won’t support a bill that fails the environmental test.

The discussion is continued at Open Left.

A Look at Evangelicals and Global Warming 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:26:00 GMT

The Washington Post has an extended feature today on the growing evangelical advocacy on global warming, “Warming Draws Evangelicals Into Environmentalist Fold”, telling the story of Joel C. Hunter, pastor of Florida’s Northland Church. It discusses how the environmental advocacy of U.S. pastors is a result of an intense six-year effort by their counterparts in Great Britain, led by atmospheric scientist and evangelical Sir John T. Houghton, University of Wisconsin professor of environmental studies Calvin B. DeWitt, and Bishop James Jones of Liverpool, with further outreach by environmental organizations and scientists.
Several eminent scientists also set out to repair the breach that had divided American faith leaders and scientists for nearly a century. Harvard University entomologist Edward O. Wilson, who had grown up Southern Baptist but drifted away in college, decided that if he could win over the religious right, he might be able to convince Americans that their entire ecological heritage was in jeopardy.

“I was working off the ‘New York effect’: If you can make it in New York, you could make it anywhere,” Wilson said. In the fall of 2006 he published “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth,” a short treatise in which the biologist makes his case for environmentalism in a series of letters to an imaginary pastor.

Last fall, Hunter and Wilson were among more than two dozen scientific and evangelical leaders who met secretly at a retreat in Thomasville, Ga., to draft a joint statement calling for immediate action on climate change. A month and a half later, they released a statement saying both camps “share a moral passion and sense of vocation to save the imperiled living world before our damages to it remake it as another kind of planet.”

After the meeting, Hunter and Conservation International’s Campbell drafted a tool kit titled “Creation Care: An Introduction for Busy Pastors” to send to evangelical leaders. Within a matter of months, they had produced a package of Bible passages and information on scientific findings to promote action on climate change.

Environmental Non-Profits Respond to Lieberman-Warner 7

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 06 Aug 2007 05:58:00 GMT

In summary, US-CAP members Environmental Defense, Pew Center on Climate Change, and Nature Conservancy offer unequivocal praise of Lieberman-Warner.

NRDC (US-CAP) and Union of Concerned Scientists say it’s a starting point that needs fixing.

Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club say it has major problems; the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters say that focus should stay on the Sanders-Boxer bill.

A number of organizations have not yet weighed in. Full quotations and links to the statements are below the fold.

House Passes Energy Package with Renewable Energy Standard Provision 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Sun, 05 Aug 2007 00:50:00 GMT

HR 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, passed at 5:40 PM by a vote of 241-172. 26 Republicans voted in favor of the bill and 9 Democrats against.

At 4:39 PM the Udall renewable energy standard (RES) amendment passed 220-190. 32 Republicans voted for the provision and 38 Democrats against.

At 8:16 PM, HR 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, was passed by a vote of 221-189. 9 Republicans voted in favor and 11 Democrats against. The bill was subsequently attached to HR 3221 and the combined bill will go into conference with the Senate.

House Energy Package Votes Likely Delayed to Saturday

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 03 Aug 2007 17:16:00 GMT

From CQ:
Energy legislation remained in limbo Friday, stalled by tight vote counts, partisan squabbling and fresh veto threats from the White House. Floor consideration was likely to be delayed until Saturday — at best.

Democrats at midday were considering making changes to the energy tax package (HR 2776) to placate oil-state Democrats upset about treatment of the oil and gas industry.

There “may be some slight changes,” said John B. Larson, D-Conn., vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, after a meeting in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Larson would not elaborate on what the changes might be, but Democrats have been struggling to ensure that they can muster a majority vote in support of the energy package. They cannot count on support from many, if any, Republicans.

House Democratic leaders still insist the chamber will take up the energy tax bill and a broader energy measure (HR 3221) before it leaves for the month-long August recess. The Rules Committee was expected to draft a rule later Friday, with floor votes Saturday. But even that could prove optimistic.

Democratic aides said they expect a prolonged debate on a fiscal 2008 defense spending bill (HR 3222) that is set to go to the House floor ahead of the energy package. Republicans were threatening to use parliamentary delaying tactics on that bill.

“We didn’t get the rule for the energy package done yesterday. That means the earliest it could be taken up would be Saturday,’’ said a senior Democratic aide.

Amendments to House Energy Bill Announced: RES, No CAFE 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Aug 2007 20:47:00 GMT

The proposed amendments to HR 3221 have been submitted and are available for review, as are those for HR 2776.

Of significance for HR 3221:
  • Both major CAFE standards bills, Markey-Platts, and Hill-Terry, were withdrawn. Barton’s CAFE bill is still on the slate as Amendment #62
  • Udall-Platts (HR 969), the Renewable Energy Standard, is on the slate as Amendment #96 and probably has enough votes for passage
  • Herseth Sandlin submitted Amendment #81 to change the Renewable Fuels Standard program to require the production of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022
  • Boustany’s Amendment #9 makes the Secretary of Energy a statutory member of the National Security Council
  • Shay’s Amendment #105 doubles the funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program
HR 2776:
  • McCrery submitted the Republican substitute for the tax package as Amendment #7

Lieberman-Warner Plan Unveiled 21

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Aug 2007 16:39:00 GMT

Sens. Lieberman and Warner have unveiled the skeleton of their cap-and-trade legislation, America’s Climate Security Act.

Cap

“The bill will specify an annual aggregate tonnage cap, expressed in terms of Co2 equivalence, for each year from 2012 through 2050. The cap that the bill will specify for 2012 will be the 2005 emissions level.” And: 10% below 2005 by 2020, 30% by 2030, 50% by 2030, 70% by 2050.

Allowances

  • Each year 20% of that year’s National Emission Allowance Account for free to covered entities within the industry sector.
  • In 2012 20% of the NEAA will be allocated to the electric power sector. A portion of that 20% will be free to new entrants to the electric power sector. The allocation will be at 20% from 2012 – 2017, then transition to 0% by 2035.
  • 10% will be allocated to load-serving entities to defray energy-cost impacts on low- and middle-income consumers and to promote demand-side energy efficency, some of it for free to rural electric cooperative facilities.
  • 8% will be allocated to covered entities who have taken pre-enactment action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That 8% will transition to 0% by 2020.
  • Each year 4% will be allocated to state governments, half based on population, half on historical state emissions.
  • Each year 4% will be allocated to US coal mines.
  • Each year 7.5% will be allocated to farmers, foresters, and other landowners to store carbon in soils, crops, and forests.
  • Each year 2.5% will be allocated to the transportation sector.

Allowances for Auction

  • 24% in 2012 will go to auction under the aegis of the Climate Change Credit Corporation; rising to 52% by 2035.

Auction Proceeds

  • 20% for a public-private partnership for power-sector technologies including CCS
  • 20% for public-private partnership for CCS
  • 20% for transportation sector technologies and reducing miles traveled
  • 10% for environmental mitigation
  • 10% for SO2, NOx, mercury emission reduction from coal plants
  • 10% to state and local for low-income community mitigation
  • 10% for international mitigation

CCS

CCS regulations and a legal framework for the Federal assumption of liability for geological storage will be proposed by a study group within two years of enactment.

Carbon Market Efficiency Board, Banking

  • Up to 15% of the allowances a covered entity must submit may be comprised of borrowed allowances, with an interest rate set by the Board.
  • Up to 15% of the allowances that a covered entity must submit may be comprised of offset credits.
  • Up to 15% of the allowances that a covered entity must submit may be comprised of allowances purchased on a certified foreign greenhouse gas emissions trading market.
  • the Board may increase the number of emissions credits if the average daily closing price of an emissions credit exceeds the upper end of the range predicted by the CBO prior to the start of the program.
  • The Board may adjust the terms and interest rates of the emissions loans “as needed to avoid significant harm to the economy” and “in the event of more extreme economic circumstances” to raise the cap temporarily provided that subsequent year’s caps are tightened so that cumulative reductions are unchanged.

Offsets

“The bill will set forth detailed, rigorous requirements for offsets, with the purpose of ensuring that they will represent real, additional, verifiable, and permanent emissions reductions.”

Foreign Tariffs

The President will be authorized to require that importers of GHG-intensive products submit emissions allowances of a value equivalent to that of the allowances that the US system effectively requires of domestic manufacturers, if it is determined that nation has not taken commensurate action to reduce GHG emissions.

EPW Delegation to Greenland

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Aug 2007 14:43:00 GMT

Last weekend, Sen. Barbara Boxer led a delegation from the Environment and Public Works Committee to Greenland:
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
  • Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
  • Bill Nelson (D-Fl.)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
  • Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Inhofe sent staffer Mark Morano, a former writer for the rightwing Cybercast News Service. Richard Alley of Penn State University, the lead author on the United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was the scientific advisor on the trip. They met with Arkalo Abelsen, Greeland’s environmental minister.

What's Missing from the House Energy Bill; Dingell on Carbon Tax

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 02 Aug 2007 14:10:00 GMT

The New York Times has an editorial on the energy bill to be debated this week (HR 3221): An Incomplete Energy Bill.

The House will begin debating Friday on a generally useful energy bill that would increase energy efficiency, encourage more responsible oil and gas development on public lands and stimulate investment in cleaner fuels. Yet the bill is incomplete. If it truly hopes to address the problems of global warming and energy independence, three vital issues need to be addressed.
The three missing components:
  • CAFE Standard (Markey-Platts, HR 1506)
  • Renewable Energy Standard (Udall, HR 969)
  • Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

This is also the Union of Concerned Scientists platform.

Rep. Dingell, meanwhile, wrote an op-end on the carbon tax: The Power in the Carbon Tax. It’s a critical insight into the thinking of perhaps the most influential person in Congress in shaping global warming policy.

I apparently created a mini-storm last month when I observed publicly for at least the sixth time since February that some form of carbon emissions fee or tax (including a gasoline tax) would be the most effective way to curb carbon emissions and make alternatives economically viable. I said, as I have on many occasions, that we would have to go to some kind of cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions.

Lieberman and Warner to unveil cap and trade plan tomorrow

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 01 Aug 2007 14:18:00 GMT

The press conference has been announced for 10:30 AM tomorrow.

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