Al Gore Praises Boxer, Lieberman-Warner Bill 8

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 02 Jun 2008 15:10:00 GMT

Former Vice President Al Gore’s statement on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036):
I want to commend Senator Boxer for her leadership of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Thanks to her vision and dedication, we have the first global warming bill in history that is comprehensive, bipartisan and that enjoys support across the country – from labor and agriculture to the business and the environmental communities. Of course the bill needs to be stronger, but it’s vital that Congress begin to act. While it’s important that people change their light bulbs, it’s even more important that we change the laws.

Boxer Delivers Democratic Radio Address On Global Warming 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 02 Jun 2008 14:47:00 GMT

On Saturday, May 31st, Senator Boxer gave the Democratic Radio Address on this week’s upcoming debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036).

Right now, many of our states, including my home state, are leading. They have the will. Our mayors are leading. They have the will. Religious leaders have urged us to act now as well. They reminded me of a wonderful quote that motivates me to work as hard as I can for as long as it takes to responsibly address global warming. These words stay with me: “When God created the first man, he took him around to all the trees in the Garden of Eden and said to him ‘see my handiwork, how beautiful and choice they are. Be careful not to ruin and destroy my world, for if you do ruin it, there is no one to repair it after you.’”

The full text of the address is below.

The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:

Good morning. I’m Senator Barbara Boxer from California and Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Next week, the Senate will begin debate on one of the most important issues of our time – global warming.

Senators have come together across party lines to write a law that will not only enable us to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming, but will create millions of new jobs and put us on the path to energy independence. Other benefits of our legislation will be cleaner air, energy efficiency, relief for consumers and the alternative energy choices that American families deserve. And, by acting wisely, America will regain the leadership we have lost these past seven years.

There are some in the Senate who insist that global warming is nothing more than science fiction. These are the same kind of voices who said that the world was flat, cigarettes were safe and cars didn’t need airbags – long after the rest of us knew the truth.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of scientists say that the earth is in peril if we don’t act now. They’ve told us clearly that more than 40 percent of God’s creatures could face extinction if we don’t act now. They’ve told us of more intense weather events if we don’t act now. Health experts have told us that infectious diseases will increase due to warmer waters. And military leaders have told us that unchecked global warming will lead to severe conflict and war as droughts, floods and rising sea levels create huge numbers of desperate refugees.

I hope you will help us convince the negative voices that we must act now to avert these dangers. Tell the Bush administration to help us, not fight us. Tell your Senators that action now will have positive results for our families and our nation. Tell those skeptics who say “wait for China and India to act” that the America we know and love doesn’t hide from a challenge and wait for others to lead.

Right now, many of our states, including my home state, are leading. They have the will. Our mayors are leading. They have the will. Religious leaders have urged us to act now as well. They reminded me of a wonderful quote that motivates me to work as hard as I can for as long as it takes to responsibly address global warming. These words stay with me: “When God created the first man, he took him around to all the trees in the Garden of Eden and said to him ‘see my handiwork, how beautiful and choice they are. Be careful not to ruin and destroy my world, for if you do ruin it, there is no one to repair it after you.’”

I truly hope that you will support our efforts on the Senate floor. Please join our fight, and thanks for listening.

Club for Growth, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Launch Dueling Lieberman-Warner Campaigns 8

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 29 May 2008 13:40:00 GMT

The conservative Club for Growth has launched a $250,000 radio and television campaign targeting several coal-state senators in opposition to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191/3036). The Environmental Defense Action Fund, the C(4) side of the Environmental Defense Fund, has also begun a much larger $4 million campaign that comes on top of the estimated $8.5 million already spent this year in support of the cap-and-trade legislation.

The text of the Club for Growth ad running in Tennessee:
Congress is at it again. This time they’re pushing massive new taxes and regulation in the name of global warming. But let’s ask ourselves, are the unproven benefits of legislation worth the major job losses, new taxes and increased energy costs that could result?

Call Senator Lamar Alexander and tell him to vote “no” on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. Tennesseans just can’t afford another huge, costly government program.

Club for GrowthEnvironmental Defense
Club for Growth:
  • Tennessee (Republican Bob Corker)
  • North Carolina (Republican Elizabeth Dole)
  • West Virginia (Democrats Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller)
  • Montana (Democrats Max Baucus and John Tester)
EDF:
  • Arkansas (Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor)
  • Colorado (Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Ken Salazar)
  • Florida (Republican Mel Martinez)
  • Indiana (Republican Richard Lugar and Democrat Evan Bayh)
  • Missouri (Republican Kit Bond and Democrat Claire McCaskill
  • Nebraska (Republican Chuck Hagel and Democrat Ben Nelson)
  • New Hampshire (Republicans Judd Gregg and John Sununu)
  • New Mexico (Republican Pete Domenici and Democrat Jeff Bingaman)
  • North Carolina (Republican Richard Burr)
  • North Dakota (Democrats Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan)
  • Ohio (Republican George Voinovich and Democrat Sherrod Brown)
  • Pennsylvania (Republican Arlen Specter and Democrat Robert Casey)
  • Tennessee (Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker)
  • Virginia (Democrat Jim Webb)

E&E News:

The Environmental Defense Fund ads also are running in the districts of several influential House members, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Snowe Announces Support for Lieberman-Warner 6

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 23 May 2008 13:09:00 GMT

On Wednesday, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced her support for S. 3036, saying it “mirrors closely” the Kerry-Snowe Global Reduction Act (S. 485), which calls for a 65 percent reduction from 2000 levels of greenhouse gases by 2050. Snowe also noted that language from the Feinstein-Snowe Emission Allowance Market Transparency Act (S. 2423) was included in the manager’s mark.

Unlike Lieberman-Warner, Kerry-Snowe also sets a goal of achieving a greenhouse gas stabilization target of 450 ppm, and calls for the establishment of vehicle emissions standards. In Snowe’s press release, she states that Lieberman-Warner “would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 66 percent by 2050,” although NRDC analysis of the bill finds that Lieberman-Warner would only achieve reductions between 60 to 65 percent from 2000 levels.

Reid Takes Steps To Begin Floor Debate On Lieberman-Warner 10

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 23 May 2008 12:07:00 GMT

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) manager’s mark of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) as a new bill, numbered S. 3036. S. 3036 will be the vehicle for the floor debate of the cap-and-trade legislation. On Thursday, Reid filed for cloture on a motion to proceed onto the bill, setting the stage for a 5:30 p.m. vote on June 2, one week from Monday. According to E&E News, “Few expect the vote to be contentious.”

“It may even end up being 99-0,” said Andrew Wheeler, staff director for Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Inhofe plans to back this procedural step as a gateway to a bigger debate over the merits of the legislation, Wheeler said.

Reid, Boxer, and the bill’s co-sponsors, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), have not determined what terms they will seek for the debate and amendment process. Reid has the option of exerting privilege to block unwanted amendments by “filling the tree” with his own.

Text of Boxer's Manager Amendment to Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 21 May 2008 20:27:00 GMT

Download the Full document. Titles are after the break.

Title I Immediate Action

  • Subtitle A Tracking Greenhouse‐Gas Emissions
  • Subtitle B Early Clean Technology Deployment
  • Subtitle C Research

Title II Capping Greenhouse‐Gas Emissions

Title III Reducing Emissions Through Offsets and International Allowances

  • Subtitle A Offsets in the United States
  • Subtitle B Offsets and Emission Allowances From Other Nations
  • Subtitle C Agriculture and Forestry Program in the United States

Title IV Establishing a Greenhouse‐Gas Emissions Trading Market

  • Subtitle A Trading
  • Subtitle B Market Oversight and Enforcement
  • Subtitle C Carbon Market Efficiency Board
  • Subtitle D Climate Change Technology Board
  • Subtitle E Auction on Consignment

Title V Federal Program to Prevent Economic Hardship

  • Subtitle A Banking
  • Subtitle H Transition Assistance for Natural‐Gas Processors
  • Subtitle I Federal Program for Consumers

Title VI Partnerships with States, Localities and Indian Tribes

  • Subtitle A Partnerships with State Governments to Prevent Economic Hardship While Promoting Efficiency
  • Subtitle B Partnerships with States, Localities, and Indian Tribes to Reduce Emissions
  • Subtitle C Partnerships with States and Indian Tribes to Adapt to Climate Change
  • Subtitle D Partnerships with States, Localities, and Indian Tribes to Protect Natural Resources

Title VII Recognizing Early Action

Title VIII Efficiency and Renewable Energy

  • Subtitle A Efficient Buildings
  • Subtitle B Efficient Equipment and Appliances
  • Subtitle C Efficient Manufacturing
  • Subtitle D Renewable Energy

Title IX Low‐Carbon Electricity and Advanced Research

  • Subtitle A Low‐ and Zero‐Carbon Electricity Technology
  • Subtitle B Advanced Research

Title X Future of Coal

  • Subtitle A Kick‐Start for Carbon Capture and Sequestration
  • Subtitle B Long‐Term Carbon Capture and Sequestration Incentives
  • Subtitle C Legal Framework

Title XI Future of Transportation

  • Subtitle A Kick‐Start for Clean Commercial Fleets 3
  • Subtitle B Advanced Vehicle Manufacturers
  • Subtitle C Cellulosic Biofuel
  • Subtitle D Low‐Carbon Fuel Standard

Title XII Federal Program to Protect Natural Resources

  • Subtitle A Funds
  • Subtitle B Bureau of Land Management Emergency Firefighting Program
  • Subtitle C Forest Service Emergency Firefighting Program
  • Subtitle D National Wildlife Adaptation Strategy
  • Subtitle E National Wildlife Adaptation Program

Title XIII International Partnerships to Reduce Emissions and Adapt

  • Subtitle A Promoting Fairness While Reducing Emissions
  • Subtitle B International Partnerships to Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation
  • Subtitle C International Partnerships to Deploy Clean Technology
  • Subtitle D International Partnerships to Adapt to Climate Change and Protect National Security

Title XIV Reducing the Deficit

Title XV Capping Hydrofluorocarbon Emissions

Title XVI Periodic Reviews and Recommendations

Title XVII Miscellaneous

  • Subtitle A Climate Security Act Administrative Fund
  • Subtitle B Paramount Interest Waiver
  • Subtitle C Administrative Procedure and Judicial Review
  • Subtitle D State Authority
  • Subtitle E Tribal Authority
  • Subtitle F Retail Carbon Offsets
  • Subtitle G Clean Air Act
  • Subtitle H Study on State‐Federal Program Interaction

Energy and Related Economic Effects of Global Climate Change Legislation

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 20 May 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Representatives from CRS, EIA, EPA, and CBO discuss their economic analyses of Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191) and other emissions-controlling climate legislative proposals.

Witnesses
  • Brent Yacobucci, Congressional Research Service
  • Dr. Larry Parker, Congressional Research Service
  • Dr. Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator, Energy Information Administration
  • Dr. Brian McLean, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr. Peter Orszag, Congressional Budget Office

10:03 Domenici: The more of these hearings we can do the better off this country will be. We have five cap-and-trade bills in the Senate. Every single day, 11 out of 11 studies have concluded that these bills will result in higher energy costs, lower economic growth. The analyses of L-W don’t agree on much. Addressing global climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. I remain concerned about the dire consequences L-W could have for our nation. The best estimates of our capable minds often prove inaccurate. The EIA projection for oil prices in 2010 was $25. Even the projected environmental impacts of climate change have varied. IPCC’s assessment of sea level rise was reduced from three feet to 27 inches. Very few will have been able to provide input on the manager’s amendment. We’re all working on a bill that will be irrelevant. It is critical to look at what other countries have tried to do.

Assume the president signs L-W. What will we have achieved for the environment? Close to nothing. Without international participation, L-W will have reduced greenhouse gases by 1% by 2050.

China has surpassed us in global warming emissions. Addressing climate change is a great challenge, but not the only challenge we face.

Rather than choosing among cap-and-trade programs, we could look at promoting nuclear power and other tax incentives.

10:16 Bingaman Orzag recently testified before the Finance Committee.

10:17 Yacobucci explains a cap-and-trade system.

10:22 Parker CRS has conducted a review and synthesis of models projecting costs of S. 2191. Long-term cost projections are at best speculative.

10:30 Gruenspecht The projected impacts of L-W are highly sensitive to assumptions about availability of low and no-carbon energy sources and access to international offsets. Costs are roughly three times larger under least favorable assumptions than under most favorable assumptions. 80-90% of emissions reductions are in the electricity production sector. Over 90% of coal, the main emissions source impacted by a cap, goes into electricity production.

10:37 McLean discusses EPA report.

10:43 Orzag Addressing climate change will involve short-term economic costs. Timing is important. An inflexible cap is bad. Giving the permits away is equivalent to auctioning the permits and giving the money to the polluters. Two key factors of a cap-and-trade system include timing flexibility and auction revenue.

10:49 Bingaman A NAM/ACCF study envisions 75% higher allowance costs than the EIA study but economic impact three times higher. Can you explain why?

Gruenspecht The allowance price difference reflect some of the assumptions, like the absence of banking. We were surprised by the size of macroeconomic losses done for NAM. We asked to look at some of their modeling results and met with their contractor. They used EIA’s high-priced oil policy scenario but compared it to the low-price scenario. We think there are some abnormal results in their report.

Bingaman Basically there’s double-counting?

Gruenspecht They’re mixing the impact of two different things.

Bingaman A price ceiling and floor is the best mechanism?

Orzag I don’t want to say best, but yes.

10:55 Barrasso Effect on gas prices?

Gruenspecht If electricity sector can’t reduce emissions, gas price effect can range from $0.40 to $1.00.

Barrasso I want Americans to be aware of the effects on their pocketbook. You talk about uncertainties. The uncertainties are one of magnitude, not direction: how many jobs will be lost. Will a safety valve help?

Parker A safety valve – putting an upper limit on price – is a very effective of limiting economic impact.

Barrasso There’s going to be lower wages and lower returns for retirement plans no matter what you do.

Parker Prices will go up but whether or not bills will go up depends on individual action. We found bills may go down.

Barrasso Nuclear energy.

Gruenspecht Public acceptance is important.

11:07 Sanders What happens if you don’t act?

Orzag I think climate change is among the nation’s and world’s highest long-term risk. There is some danger of catastrophic change. The question is one of timing. It’s like paying an insurance premium.

Sanders We’re paying $10 billion more for Katrina. What will flooding, drought, war cost? That’s really what we’re debating. It’s disaster if we don’t go forward. I believe you’re underestimating efficiency and renewable energy. Of course there going to be economic dislocation.

McLean On the impacts. I think this is an area that concerns us greatly. It’s a very hard area to quantify and monetize. We’re working on that. On energy efficiency and renewables, there’s a lot we can say about that. We show a huge increase in renewable energy.

Corker The bill that came out is not just a cap-and-trade bill. It’s a huge spending bill. It spends every penny in a non-discretionary way. I think the whole issue of allowances because we’re passing out what is like public shares in a public company. I know the romance of this is interesting. There’s a lot underneath this that is going to affect us. Transfering trillions of dollars of wealth. $7.2 trillion, maybe $23 trillion. I think that’s important. I don’t understand why we would be allocating credits out to middlemen.

In essence this bill transfers out hundreds of billions of dollars to states for no reason.

Orzag It is a key insight that much of this money represents a windfall.

Corker It makes absolutely no sense to give allowances to people not involved in emissions. This bill provides for us to provide international credits. What it does do is transfer out, when we have a trade deficit, hundreds of billions of dollars to projects that are often wracked with fraud.

McLean What would states do with money? I’m not defending the amount of money or the policy decision. A lot of efficiency programs are run at the state level.

Corker I hope this is a dry run.

11:24 Salazar What we’re doing is defining a new energy future for America. There’s a lot of learning yet to be had. On the allocation of the auction revenues. Is this the right allocation?

Orzag It depends what your objective is. Low-income households, minimize macroeconomic costs, spur innovation. A more effective approach to cushion macroeconomic costs would be to auction the permits and use that to reduce payroll taxes.

Salazar A lot of people have talked about a Manhattan-style project. Would it be better to put the money into that pot than to lower costs on low-income consumers?

Orzag It’s big, but there is a given size. You can’t do all things for all people at all times. The price signal will do some things. You can auction revenue and explicitly fund R&D. Or allocate permits to entities that do the work, but that would be more opaque.

Gruenspecht There are issues of economic efficiency and fairness.

Salazar We have these great thoughts and great programs. We talk about hybrids and clean-coal technology. This is an opportunity to marry our work to deal with climate change to make our vision a reality.

11:32 Domenici You’re talking about this as if it is another huge Federal Reserve System. You have made it eminently clear. I think people are going to be very quizzical about what we’re doing. I believe is what we really need to do is develop new technology as rapidly as possible to clean up what we need to clean up, and then clean things up.

Murkowski Is it fair?

Parker None of the models will give you the answer reliably what the cost will be. What the models can do is whether we’ve designed the bill to hold the price down. How can they be modified to bring these reductions at the most economic level.

Murkowski Most useful, but for whose end? If I’m opposed to cap-and-trade, I’ll look at NAM’s model. We can use these models as we use statistics to support our particular situation.

Gruenspecht The different studies start from different baselines. They analyze different provisions. CRA gets a large impact from the low-carbon fuel standard. I already had a long discussion with NAM may have wrapped up two different scenarios. It’s technology and technology acceptance.

12:00 Craig I don’t know if I’m willing to risk Idahoans on the environmental or economic models of climate change. We spent years shaping energy legislation. You’re all over the field, as is the country. I’m not quite sure I can remember, have we as a Congress ever tried to micromanage the market. And I think the answer is no, never before. We’re averaging about 1.9 hurricanes in the United States. An average of $5 billion. The impact of this bill is between three to nine hundred hurricanes. We’ve spread the hurricane hit nationwide. It isn’t just Florida and the Gulf Coast and the East Coast. Now the whole country gets hit, from an economic point of view. Old speak, new speak or green speak, I don’t know where we are. But I suspect no speak is the best way for us to go.

12:08 Bingaman Second-order impacts like employment?

Parker Once you move from first-order to second-order impacts you lose even more certainty. You’re making a whole host of assumptions about a quality of life of a generation that doesn’t even now work. My concerns would be increased when talking about employment numbers.

Orzag The main effect will be on the type of jobs, not the number of jobs.

Bingaman There’s no effort to adjust for dynamic effects.

Orzag I tend not to focus on the job numbers that come out of these assessments.

Gruenspecht I too tend to be very skeptical of job numbers.

Corker Right now 52% of auction proceeds go into technology development. A five-person board, not the Congress, decides how this money is spent. Would this distinguished, mind-numbing panel agree that upstream is a direct tax, pretty much?

Orzag In economics, direct and indirect taxes have a specific meaning. But consumers will bear pretty much all of the cost no matter what.

Corker Upstream is easier to monitor. This is in essence a tax. It is in fact a carbon tax. What’s happened is interest groups have gathered around the table and have made what could have been very simple with a carbon tax very complicated. I’d like you to address the efficacy of a carbon tax that increased over time.

Orzag Economic analysis generally suggest that a carbon tax is more efficient. You can make the cap-and-trade similarly efficient by auctioning all the permits and offering significant flexibility in timing.

Corker And we’re allocating about 70% up front.

Orzag At the very start it’s even greater.

Yacobucci You’d still have to decide where that money goes if it’s a tax.

Corker We’re going to be offering an amendment to return all the revenues to consumers. We’re going to be debating on the floor a tax. Two candidates for president advocated a gas-tax holiday. I think we need to be very transparent about this. Citizens need to know we’re driving up the price of petroleum.

Murkowski Is there something we can do to get the technology in place first?

Orzag Pricing carbon will create a strong incentive for technologies to be developed and diffused throughout the economy.

Murkowski And the impact might be higher in certain areas.

McLean A price signal and investment in R&D both have impact. I think we need to do both.

Boxer Releases Preview of Lieberman-Warner Manager's Amendment 13

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 19 May 2008 18:02:00 GMT

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has released an overview of the “global warming substitute amendment” to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) that will be the subject of debate during the first week of June.

Changes from the version of Lieberman-Warner that was passed out of the Committee on Environment and Public Works last year include:
  • Title V, Subtitle C: Emergency Off-Ramps. “If the price of carbon allowances reaches a certain price range, there is a mechanism that will automatically release additional emission allowances onto the market to lower the price. The additional allowances are borrowed so that the environmental integrity of the caps over the long term is protected.”
  • Title V, Subtitle I: Financial Relief for Consumers. “The bill sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance related to energy costs. The precise details of the relief will be developed by the Finance committee.”
  • Title XIV: Deficit Neutrality. “This section auctions allowances and transfers the proceeds to the Treasury to ensure that the bill is deficit-neutral.”

Full document.

Voinovich Drafting Climate Counter-Proposal 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 25 Apr 2008 13:38:00 GMT

Darren Samuelson of E&E News reports that Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), with assistance from the White House, is working on a legislative alternative to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191). The version of the plan that E&E News acquired included:
  • Voluntary goals of 2006-level emissions by 2020 and 1990 levels by 2030
  • Tax incentives for advanced coal and nuclear power
  • A “backstop” cap-and-trade program

The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report outlined the need for industrialized nations to achieve reductions of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020, targets the Annex I Kyoto signatories recognized in Bali.

From E&E News:
On the other side of the climate debate, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) is taking the lead in writing his own climate change bill that could come up as an alternative to the Lieberman-Warner measure.

Sources on and off Capitol Hill started circulating details of Voinovich’s proposal last week. An executive summary of the Voinovich plan obtained yesterday by E&E Daily shows a plan heavy on tax incentives for new energy technologies such as “clean coal” and nuclear power, with a cap-and-trade program used as a backstop if the low- and zero-carbon energy sources do not meet certain milestones.

The summary said those milestones would be to reduce U.S. emissions to 2006 levels by 2020 and 1990 levels by 2030. Voinovich spokesman Chris Paulitz said yesterday that the summary was “well outdated,” though he did confirm the senator was working on alternatives.

“He’s trying to figure out a way to make the environment cleaner that doesn’t kill our economy,” Paulitz said. “Right now, there’s not a bill in the Senate that does those two things.”

Voinovich is getting help from the Bush administration on his climate proposal, as well as others. “We’re working with everybody who we can humanly think of,” Paulitz said. Of the White House, he added, “It’d be silly to exclude a branch of government that would play a key role.”

Tax Aspects of a Cap-and-Trade System

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 24 Apr 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Witnesses
  • Peter R. Orszag, Director, Congressional Budget Office
  • Robert Greenstein, Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Henry Derwent CB, President and CEO, International Emissions Trading Association

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