Pelosi Allies Release Climate Legislation Principles

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 24 Apr 2008 01:44:00 GMT

Yesterday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) released a document entitled “Principles for Global Warming Legislation,” saying they “are designed to provide a framework for Congress as it produces legislation to establish an economy-wide mandatory program to cut global warming emissions” and that they “will meet the United States’ obligations to curb greenhouse gas emissions and also will provide a pathway to the international cooperation that is necessary to solve the global warming problem.”

The principles are summarized:

The principles include the following elements: strong science-based targets for near-term and long-term emissions reductions; auctioning emissions allowances rather than giving them to polluting industries; investing auction revenues in clean energy technologies; returning auction proceeds to consumers, workers, and communities to offset any economic impacts; and dedicating a portion of auction proceeds to help states, communities, vulnerable developing countries, and ecosystems address harm from the degree of global warming that is now unavoidable.

The specific 14-point elements provide specific language that is more complicated than the above summary. For example:

  • The document recognizes that an increase in global temperatures greater than 2°C above pre-industrial levels will bring about “dangerous and irreversible changes to the Earth’s climate” and that the IPCC calls for an industrialized-nation minimum target of 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, but calls for a U.S. target of 100% of 1990 levels.
  • The language for scientific lookback provisions would be technically satisfied by Lieberman-Warner’s current provisions (Sec. 7001-7004), which only mandate action by 2020.
  • The document does not actually call for full auction of allowances, saying: “If any allocations are given to polluters, they must be provided only to existing facilities for a brief transition period and the quantity must be limited to avoid windfall profits”; no definition of “brief” or “windfall profits” is given
  • “Significant” auction revenue should be dedicated to “clean energy and efficiency measures” – “clean energy” is defined as “technologies and practices that are cleaner, cheaper, safer, and faster than conventional technologies.” The document does not distinguish between renewable and non-renewable technologies
  • Only clean technology, a priority of Rep. Inslee, is recommended to receive a “significant” portion of auction revenues; however, the document says that auction revenues “sufficient to offset higher energy costs” should go to low- and middle-income households.

The document is written with an eye to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191), the cap-and-trade legislation expected to reach the Senate floor in June. In part, this is because the document is expressly focused on cap-and-trade legislation; questions of broader policy (agriculture, transportation, architecture, urban planning, health) are only touched on. Many of the provisions are written in such a way that the language in Lieberman-Warner satisfies them (such as the 2020 target, lookback provisions, call for complementary policies, and most of the auction proceeds language).

Points of difference include the document’s call for 80% reductions from current levels by 2050 (Lieberman-Warner’s 2050 target is estimated to achieve a 62-66% reduction from current levels) and the emphasis on auction rather than allowance giveaways. Lieberman-Warner allocates a significant percentage of allowances for public purposes, giving them to states, tribal governments, federal agencies, and load-serving entities who would then sell the allowances to emitters to use their value; this document emphasizes instead using auction revenues.

In general, the House document is in line with the Sanders-Lautenberg principles, though Sanders-Lautenberg is stronger on the scientific language. However, it is considerably less aggressive than the progressive 1Sky principles. For example, there is no language even hinting at a coal plant moratorium, which has been called for by Reps. Waxman and Markey (H.R. 5575).

The full document of principles is after the jump.


The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madam Speaker,

We salute your leadership on one of the critical issues of our time: the effort to save the planet from calamitous global warming. You have listened to the scientists and recognized the scope and severity of the threat that global warming poses to our nation’s security, economy, public health, and ecosystems. You have made enacting legislation to address global warming a top priority for Congress for the first time in our history. We stand ready to help develop this legislation and enact it into law.

As part of this effort, we have developed a set of principles to guide Congress as it produces legislation to establish an economy-wide mandatory program to address the threat of global warming. Acting in accordance with these principles is critical to achieving a fair and effective bill that will avoid the most dangerous global warming and assist those harmed by the warming that is unavoidable, while strengthening our economy.

The following are the principles we have developed to guide the creation of comprehensive global warming legislation.

Comprehensive legislation to address global warming must achieve four key goals:

  1. Reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming;
  2. Transition America to a clean energy economy;
  3. Recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation; and
  4. Aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.
To meet each of these goals, climate change legislation must include the following key elements.

Reduce Emissions to Avoid Dangerous Global Warming

The United States must do its part to keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels. The scientific community warns that above this level, dangerous and irreversible changes to the Earth’s climate are predicted to occur. To meet this goal, the legislation must:
  • Cap and cut global warming emissions to science-based levels with short and long-term targets. Total U.S. emissions must be capped by a date certain, decline every year, be reduced to 15% to 20% below current levels in 2020, and fall to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Review and respond to advancing climate science. The effects of global warming are happening much faster than scientists predicted several years ago, and there may be tipping points at which irreversible effects occur at lower levels of greenhouse gas concentrations than previously predicted. A mechanism for periodic scientific review is necessary, and EPA, and other agencies as appropriate, must adjust the regulatory response if the latest science indicates that more reductions are needed.
  • Make emissions targets certain and enforceable. Our strong existing environmental laws depend on enforceable requirements, rigorous monitoring and reporting of emissions, public input and transparent implementation, and government and citizen enforcement. All of these elements must be included in comprehensive global warming legislation. Cost-containment measures must not break the cap on global warming pollution. Any offsets must be real, additional, verifiable, permanent, and enforceable. The percentage of required emissions reductions that may be met with offsets should be strictly limited, and should be increased only to the extent that there is greater certainty that the offsets will not compromise the program’s environmental integrity.
  • Require the United States to engage with other nations to reduce emissions through commitments and incentives. The United States must reengage in the international negotiations to establish binding emissions reductions goals under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The legislation must encourage developing countries to reduce emissions by assisting such countries to avoid deforestation and to adopt clean energy technologies. This is a cost-effective way for the United States and other developed nations to achieve combined emissions reductions of at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, as called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Transition America to a Clean Energy Economy

Global warming legislation provides an opportunity to create new jobs, while transforming the way we live and work through renewable energy, green buildings, clean vehicles, and advanced technologies. To realize this opportunity, the legislation must:

  • Invest in the best clean energy and efficiency technologies. A significant portion of revenues from auctioning emissions allowances should be invested in clean energy and efficiency measures, targeted to technologies and practices that are cleaner, cheaper, safer, and faster than conventional technologies, as determined through the application of clear standards set by Congress.
  • Include and encourage complementary policies. Complementary policies can lower program costs by producing lower-cost emissions reductions from economic sectors and activities that are less sensitive to a price signal. Smart growth measures, green building policies, and electricity sector efficiency policies are important types of complementary policies. The legislation should include federal complementary policies and encourage state and local complementary policies in areas better addressed by states and localities.
  • Preserve states’ authorities to protect their citizens. Federal global warming requirements must be a floor, not a ceiling, on states’ ability to protect their citizens’ health and state resources. Throughout our history, states have pioneered policies that the nation has subsequently adopted. Addressing global warming requires state and local efforts, as well as national ones.

Recognize and Minimize Any Economic Impacts from Global Warming Legislation

Reducing global warming pollution will likely have some manageable costs, which would be far lower than the costs of inaction. To minimize any economic impacts, the legislation must:
  • Use public assets for public benefit in a fair and transparent way. Emissions allowances should be auctioned with the revenues going to benefit the public, and any free allocations should produce public benefits. If any allocations are given to polluters, they must be provided only to existing facilities for a brief transition period and the quantity must be limited to avoid windfall profits.
  • Return revenues to consumers. Revenues from auctioned allowances should be returned to low- and moderate-income households at a level sufficient to offset higher energy costs.
  • Return revenues to workers and communities. Workers and communities most affected by the transition to a clean energy economy should receive a portion of the revenues to ease the transition and build a trained workforce so that all can participate in the new energy economy.
  • Protect against global trade disadvantages to U.S. industry. In addition to providing incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions, the legislation should provide for an effective response to any countries that refuse to contribute their fair share to the international effort. These elements will protect energy-intensive U.S. enterprises against competitive disadvantage.

Aid Communities and Ecosystems Vulnerable to Harm from Global Warming

Global warming is already harming communities and ecosystems throughout the world, and even with immediate action to reduce emissions and avoid dangerous effects, these impacts will worsen over the coming decades. To ameliorate these harms, the legislation must:
  • Assist states, localities and tribes to respond and adapt to the effects of global warming. A portion of auction revenues should be provided to states, localities, and tribes to respond to harm from global warming and adapt their infrastructure to its effects, such as more severe wildfires, intensified droughts, increased water scarcity, sea level rise, floods, hurricanes, melting permafrost, and agricultural and public health impacts.
  • Assist developing countries to respond and adapt to the effects of global warming. A portion of auction revenues should be provided to help the developing countries most vulnerable to harm from global warming and defuse the threats to national security and global stability posed by conflicts over water and other natural resources, famines, and mass migrations that could be triggered by global warming. Vulnerable countries include least developed countries, where millions of people are already living on the brink, and small island states, which face massive loss of land.
  • Assist wildlife and ecosystems threatened by global warming. A portion of auction revenues should be provided to federal, state, and tribal natural resource protection agencies to manage wildlife and ecosystems to maximize the survival of wildlife populations, imperiled species, and ecosystems, using science-based adaptation strategies.

These principles, if adopted as part of comprehensive climate change legislation, will meet the United States’ obligations to curb greenhouse gas emissions and also will provide a pathway to the international cooperation that is necessary to solve the global warming problem.

Competitiveness and the Future of Carbon Trading: A View from Europe

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 29 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing addressing the efficiency of a cap-and-trade approach to controlling carbon emissions. The cap-and-trade approach is often set against concerns about its possible impact on industrial competitiveness. These and related concerns led to significant excess allocation of free allowances in the first phase of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which caps carbon from five major trading industrial sectors, in addition to power generation.

  • With the first phase of the EU ETS now complete and the system in its second (Kyoto) phase, what has been learned to date?
  • What is now proposed for the future of the EU ETS beyond 2012 – with the recent structure proposed for a third term, right out to 2020?
  • And what may the EU ETS experience and future plans imply for the international effort to control climate change?

The EU ETS covers 45 percent of European CO2 emissions. Concerns about the loss of industrial competitiveness and leakage of CO2 emissions remain one of the major barriers to placing more robust CO2 mitigation obligations on industrial sectors in the EU. A January 15 report by Climate Strategies, “Differentiation and Dynamics of EU ETS Industrial Competitiveness Impacts,” analyzes what would happen if Europe presses ahead with strong CO2 prices without waiting for similar policies elsewhere. The study finds that competitiveness and leakage concerns are no threat to the viability of the EU ETS overall, but can be analyzed and addressed for the individual sectors affected. Various policy instruments are available, and the best option can be selected individually for each of the affected sectors.

  • Dr. Michael Grubb, Chief Economist, Carbon Trust; Professor, Cambridge Faculty of Economics; and Contributing Author, Differentiation and Dynamics of EU ETS Industrial Competitiveness Impacts

Professor Michael Grubb is Chief Economist at the UK’s Carbon Trust, the $200 million/year public-private partnership established by the UK government and business to kick-start the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy. He combines this with academic positions at Cambridge University and Imperial College London. Prof. Grubb was also recently appointed to the UK government’s Committee on Climate Change, being established under the UK Climate Change Bill, with statutory powers to advise the UK government on future carbon reduction targets and to monitor government progress towards those targets.

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, contact Fred Beck at or 202-662-1892.

Boucher Releases White Paper on "Appropriate Roles for Different Levels of Government"

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Feb 2008 01:40:00 GMT

In the middle of September 2007, Rick Boucher (D-W.Va.), chair of the the the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of John Dingell’s Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he would be releasing a series of white papers “over the next six weeks” on issues related to the development of climate change legislation. The third such paper, Appropriate Roles for Different Levels of Government, has now been released.

After reviewing state, local and regional initiatives to combat global warming emissions, in its discussion of the possible costs of local regulations in addition to a federal cap-and-trade system, the 25-page white paper bores in on the question of federal preemption. This issue was highlighted in December by EPA administrator Stephen Johnson’s denial of California’s waiver request under the Clean Air Act to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions. Johnson’s decision spurred a multi-state lawsuit, an investigation by House Oversight chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and contentious Senate hearings.

The paper follows statements made previously by committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) supporting Johnson’s stated justification for denying the waiver:
One key factor that distinguishes climate change from other pollution problems our country has tackled is that local greenhouse gas emissions do not cause local environmental or health problems, except to the extent that the emissions contribute to global atmospheric concentrations. This characteristic of greenhouse gases stands in contrast to most pollution problems, where emissions adversely affect people locally where the emissions occur. The global nature of climate change takes away (or at least greatly minimizes) one of the primary reasons many national environmental programs have provisions preserving State authority to adopt and enforce environmental programs that are more stringent than Federal programs: States have a responsibility to protect their own citizens.
In its concluding remarks, the paper summarizes the internal committee battle:
As the debate over whether the Federal Government should preempt California’s greenhouse gas motor vehicle standards has shown, Committee Members balance these various factors in a way that can lead to different conclusions that will need to be worked out through the legislative process. Chairman Dingell has made it very clear that he believes that motor vehicle greenhouse gas standards should be set by the Federal Government, not by State governments: greenhouse gases are global (not local) pollutants, multiple programs would be an undue burden on interstate commerce and would waste societal and governmental resources without reducing national emissions, and the competing interests of different States should be resolved at the Federal level. Other Committee Members have reached the opposite conclusion given the severity of the climate change problem, the need to push technological development, and the benefits of having States act as laboratories.

Environmental Justice Coalition Opposes Carbon Markets

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 20 Feb 2008 19:44:00 GMT

Citing the American Enterprise Institute, the Economist, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, a group of environmental justice organizations including the California Environmental Rights Alliance (CERA) have come out in opposition to carbon trading schemes, in particular the European Union cap-and-trade system (the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme or EU ETS) and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism for investing in emissions reductions in developing countries. Major signatories include the Rainforest Action Network and the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The declaration cites the windfall profits generated by the initial phase of EU ETS and argues that carbon trading “stands in the way of the transition to clean renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency strategies.” CDM is criticized for encouraging “carbon dumps” and financing “private industrial tree plantations and large hydro-electric facilities that appropriate land and water resources”.

The California Environmental Justice Movement will oppose efforts by our state government to create a carbon trading and offset program, because such a program will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the pace called for by the international scientific community, it will not result in a shift to clean sustainable energy sources, it will support and enrich the state’s worst polluters, it will fail to address the existing and future inequitable burden of pollution, it will deprive communities of the ability to protect and enhance their communities, and because if our state joins regional or international trading schemes it will further create incentives for carbon offset programs that harm communities in California, the region, the country, and developing nations around the world.

Signatories are below the jump.

  • Asian-Pacific Environmental Network
  • Association of Irritated Residents
  • California Communities Against Toxics
  • California Environmental Rights Alliance
  • Carbon Trade Watch
  • Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
  • Clean New York
  • Coalition For A Safe Environment
  • Communities for a Better Environment
  • Del Amo Action Committee
  • Desert Citizens Against Pollution
  • Environmental Health Coalition
  • Fresno Metro Ministry
  • Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
  • People Organized in Defense of the Earth and Her Resources
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • San Joaquin Valley Latino
  • Environmental Advance Project
  • Society for Positive Action
  • The Corner House
  • West County Toxics Coalition

Sierra Club ED Takes Strong Stand on Cap-and-Trade Legislation

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:19:00 GMT

The Sierra Club, until today, has stayed on the sidelines during the contretemps over Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191) fueled by a campaign by Friends of the Earth asking Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to “fix or ditch” the bill. The 1.3 million member organization has now made its position clear.

In an essay posted to Grist’s Gristmill blog this afternoon, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope delineates clear principles for endorsing climate legislation, all of which Lieberman-Warner currently fails to satisfy:

  • Reductions in total emissions on the order of 80 percent by 2050 and 20 percent by 2020
  • All allowances should be auctioned or otherwise used to benefit the public
  • Revenue should fund “highest-value solutions”, not coal or nuclear energy
  • Ensure a just transition for workers, protect vulnerable groups, and help induce world action

He compares the current political situation to the one that led to the Clean Air Act in 1971, saying that “Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie, fearing that industry would block him on other points, acceded” to the industry insistence to grandfather old plants, and that environmentalists like the 25-year-old Pope went along.

He then responds to Sen. Barbara Boxer and advocates of pushing a climate bill this year hell or high water:
Fast-forward to present day: the carbon industries are lobbying to get a deal done this year that would give away carbon permits free of charge to existing polluters – bribing the sluggish, and slowing down innovation. And politicians are telling us that while it would be better to auction these permits and make polluters pay for putting carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, creating that market unfortunately gets in the way of the politics. We are being urged to compromise – to put a system in place quickly, even if it is the wrong system.

Hearing Looks at Implications of Auction in Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:51:00 GMT

At this morning’s House Global Warming Committee hearing on Auctions and Revenue Recycling in Cap and Trade, the witnesses presented some of the first Congressional testimony on the economic implications of a greenhouse-emissions cap and trade system such as the one proposed in Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191).

A summary of some of the analysis presented in the written testimony:
  1. Power generators will raise prices the same whether allowances are given away for free or are auctioned, because the price is set by the limitation in supply (the cap)
  2. Investment in energy efficiency provides greater immediate taxpayer return than technology investment
  3. Because power generators are free from competition they don’t need any protection through free allowances
  4. A European Commission analysis found no macroeconomic negative impact of moving their cap-and-trade system to full auction
  5. Free allocation to load-serving entities is a subsidy to electricity consumption, which leads to an increase in allowance prices and requiring greater decreases from other sectors
  6. The “virtual tax” a cap-and-trade system imposes can be greatly alleviated if revenues are used to reduce pre-existing taxes
  7. To fully offset the costs on the electricity sector through free allocation of allowances would cost the government 2.5 to ten times the value of the economic harm to the emitters, depending on whether the free allowances are narrowly targeted (15% of sector allowances) or nationally distributed (65% of sector allowances)
  8. To fully offset the costs on the poorest 20% of the American public takes about 14% of total revenues of a 100% auction system

Excerpts from the testimony related to the above points are below the jump.

Ian Bowles, Mass. Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs:

  1. It is tempting to think that, if you make generators pay for the emissions they produce, it will drive electricity prices up, but if you give allowances away for free, it won’t. But it’s not true. The price impact is the same either way. . . As power generators determine the price at which it becomes economic for their plants to produce power, they have to decide whether to expend allowances in order to generate electricity, save those allowances for a time when electricity prices are higher, or sell allowances to other power producers who need to meet their compliance obligations. In any of these three scenarios, the market price of allowances becomes a component of the price of electricity.
  2. While it is important that a federal program also give substantial new financial incentives to develop new clean energy technologies, energy efficiency gives the greatest near term return for the ratepayers.

Peter Zapfel, European Commission Directorate General for Environment:

  1. Because the power generation sector is not exposed to competition from outside the EU, it can fully pass on the value of carbon allowances. Full auctioning should therefore be the rule from 2013 onwards for the power sector.
  2. In order to underpin the energy and climate package of 23 January 2008 the Commission undertook a comprehensive (regulatory) impact assessment including an economic analysis of the effects of auctioning compared to free allocation of allowances. This analysis concluded that the full auctioning of allowances has no negative macroeconomic impact and is in fact preferable to other distribution methods in terms of efficiency of the emissions trading system and the elimination of any undesirable distributional effects of free allocation.

Dallas Burtraw, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future

  1. Unfortunately, free allocation to load serving entities comes with an important efficiency cost. When electricity customers do not see the increase in retail electricity prices they do not have the incentive to reduce electricity consumption. In the example we modeled it leads to a 15 percent increase in allowance price under the cap and trade program and requires greater emission reductions for the rest of the economy.. . Essentially, the free allocation to electricity customers is a subsidy to electricity consumption that is not received by users of natural gas or transportation fuels or by industry or commerce, except to the degree that they consume electricity.
  2. Like any new regulation, climate policy imposes costs on households and firms and that cost acts like a virtual tax, reducing the real wage of workers . . . one of the most important findings in environmental economics and public finance in the last fifteen years is the recognition that the use of revenue raised through an auction (or an emissions tax), if dedicated to reducing other pre-existing taxes, can reduce this cost substantially. This so-called revenue recycling would have truly dramatic efficiency advantages compared to free distribution.
  3. A key finding is that compensation has a significant opportunity cost, especially if the goal is to achieve full compensation. If the free allocation to achieve compensation is implemented at the federal level, we find the incremental cost of compensating for the last increment of harm in the electricity sector would cost ten times that amount in allowance value. Implemented at the regional/state level, that ratio falls, requiring the use of allowance value equal to about 4.5 times the harm.

Robert Greenstein, Executive Director of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

  1. We estimate that a program designed according to the principles laid out later in this testimony, which would fully offset the impact on the poorest 20 percent of people and also provide some relief to many hard-pressed working families in the next 20 percent, could be fully funded with approximately 14 percent of the resources that would be generated by auctioning off all the allowances in a cap-and-trade system.

John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for American Progress, said that the federal government should pay for CCS investment:

Any cap and trade bill should also include an emission performance standard for all new coal-fired facilities equivalent to the best available carbon capture-and-store technology, and the provision of federal funds to help offset additional costs of implementing carbon capture-and-storage technology. Revenues from allowance auctions should pay for these incentives.

John Dingell Announces Global Warming Proposal 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 13 Aug 2007 19:30:00 GMT

At his town hall meeting last week, House Energy and Commerce chairman John Dingell unveiled the outline of his global warming legislative plan, which he will introduce in committee on September 1:
  • cap-and-trade system with an 80% cap by 2050
  • $100 per ton CO2 emissions tax
  • 50-cent increase in federal gax tax
  • funding for research on renewable energy
  • ending the McMansion mortgage deduction (homes larger than 3,000 square feet)
Glenn Hurwitz at Grist pens a stinging assessment of the chairman: Dingell is dispensible.
So far, he’s fought hard against all steps forward, but it hasn’t made much difference in policy. That suggests that environmentalists and Democrats would be well served to reconsider conventional wisdom about Dingell. Partly because of his gratuitous and repeated swipes at leadership and the environmental movement, his sway with both leadership and rank-and-file Democrats is considerably less than it once was. As the RES vote and Hoyer’s prediction that Congress will pass aggressive fuel efficiency standards shows, his support is no longer essential to passing major environmental legislation. This doesn’t mean that Democrats or environmentalists can ignore all sometime-opponents of environmental progress within the caucus (some, like Gene Green and Charlie Gonzalez, have shown that they retain considerable pull), but it does mean we can stop obsessing about Dingell.
Earlier at Grist David Roberts criticized the Greenpeace activists protesting Dingell’s recent efforts to block an increase in CAFE standards: Dingell’s dimwitted detractors.
Argh. Silly, gimmicky, irrational crap. If this is what Dingell runs into, it’s no wonder he holds green activists in such contempt. Relative to what Dingell’s proposing, the difference between a 35mpg CAFE (which he supports) and a 45mpg or 50mpg CAFE (which greens support) is meaningless. Utterly and completely trivial. A distraction. If we could get in place a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system, the effects will dwarf minor changes in CAFE. Instead of hectoring Dingell about CAFE, activists should be using their energy to push other legislators to support these bills.

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.