Markey Takes Key Energy and Environment Position In House

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 09 Jan 2009 14:40:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Jurisdiction over energy and environmental issues – including global warming legislation – in a key House committee will be moving from two Democrats sympathetic to industrial polluters to a progressive environmentalist. According to the Boston Globe, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) will become chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Markey’s new subcommittee will replace the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), a coal-country representative, and the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), an oil-patch Democrat.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), like Markey a strong proponent of progressive action to combat climate change, is in the process of reorganizing the energy and commerce committee after wresting control from Rep. John Dingell (D-MI):

Energy & Commerce

As chair of the energy and environment subcommittee, Markey will have jurisdiction over greenhouse gas emissions legislation, such as the iCAP bill he proposed last year. He will also oversee the Clean Air Act, fossil energy, nuclear energy, drinking water and Superfund cleanups. Markey will remain chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which has no power over legislation.

Boucher will take Markey’s former seat as chair of the subcommittee in charge of telecommunications and the Internet. Boucher, like Markey, is a champion of network neutrality and patent reform.

Markey Climate Legislation Referred to Ten Committees

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 05 Jun 2008 11:53:00 GMT

Demonstrating the jurisdictional scope of climate policy, Markey’s iCAP cap-and-trade legislation (HR 6186) was referred to ten different committees yesterday:
  • Energy and Commerce
  • Ways and Means
  • Science and Technology
  • Natural Resources
  • Agriculture
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Education and Labor
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Oversight and Government Reform
  • Rules

Markey Introduces "Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act," Calling it "Revolutionary"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 28 May 2008 11:54:00 GMT

From the press release:
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a revolutionary new global warming bill today that would reduce global warming pollution according to scientific targets, reinvest any revenue back to American workers and technology, and would re-establish America as a leader in solving the globe’s greatest challenge, climate change.

At a speech at the Center for American Progress this morning, Rep. Markey, who is Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, laid out his science- and consumer-based vision for climate legislation.

“I am here today because the chorus for change is deafening. The time for action is now,” said Rep. Markey in his prepared remarks. “We must cap pollution, we must invest in consumers, jobs and the technology of tomorrow, and America must lead the world in solving our greatest challenges, and we must start now.”

The bill is called the Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act, or iCAP for short, the small “i” a tip of the cap to the technological potential of clean energy. The bill also proffers a new paradigm in global warming legislation: the Cap-and-Invest system. The bill caps pollution at 85 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. It then uses an auction system that sets a price on carbon, and allows companies to compete for reductions, or buy or trade credits within the system.

The “Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act” (iCAP Act) amends the Clean Air Act to establish an economy-wide cap-auction-and-trade system that adheres to five core principles:

1. Reduce U.S. global warming pollution by 85 percent by 2050, the necessary U.S. contribution to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases and avoid dangerous global warming.

The iCAP Act’s cap-auction-and-trade program will cover 87 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and will reduce covered emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and to 85 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

The following “covered entities” will be regulated under the cap: (1) power plants and large industrial facilities; (2) entities that produce or import petroleum- or coal-based liquid or gaseous fuels; (3) entities that produce or import hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, or nitrogen trifluoride; (4) natural gas local distribution companies; and (5) geological carbon sequestration sites.

The iCAP Act will achieve 7 percent additional coverage (a total of 94 percent coverage) through (1) mandatory performance standards for coal mines, landfills, wastewater treatment operations, and large animal feeding operations; and (2) voluntary financial incentives to farmers and forest managers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage. The iCAP Act also sets mandatory performance standards for new coal-fired power plants, requiring them to capture and sequester 85 percent of their CO2 emissions within a set timeframe.

2. Auction pollution allowances, instead of giving them free-of-charge to polluters, to avoid windfall profits for polluters, ensure fairness and effectiveness, and reduce social costs.

The iCAP Act begins by auctioning 94 percent of allowances in 2012 and transitions to a 100 percent auction in 2020. The 6 percent of allowances not initially auctioned are distributed as transitional assistance to U.S. industries that are energy-intensive and exposed to international trade competition (e.g., iron and steel, aluminum, cement, glass, and paper). The iCAP Act permits any person to buy, sell, or transfer allowances or to “bank” them for future use. Covered entities also may borrow allowances from the allowance budget for future years, but these “loans” must be repaid within five years with interest. Covered entities can meet up to 15 percent of their annual obligations with EPA-approved domestic offset credits and up to an additional 15 percent with EPA-approved international emission allowances or offset credits. Domestic and international offset credits are subject to rigorous standards to ensure reductions in emissions or increases in sequestration are real, verifiable, additional, permanent, and enforceable. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will oversee the carbon market to prevent fraud and market manipulation.

3. Return over half of auction proceeds to low- and middle-income households to help compensate for any increase in energy costs as a result of climate legislation.

The iCAP Act returns over half of auction proceeds to low- and middle-income households through rebates and tax credits. This will compensate all increased energy costs due to climate legislation for all households earning under $70,000 (66 percent of U.S. households), and will provide benefits to all households earning up to $110,000 (over 80 percent of U.S. households).

4. Invest the remaining auction proceeds in programs that will further reduce the costs of climate policy, spur the development of advanced low-carbon technologies, grow the U.S. economy, and address unavoidable impacts of climate change.

The iCAP Act uses the remaining auction proceeds to fund:
  • clean energy technology research, development, demonstration and deployment;
  • efficiency policies to reduce the costs and consumer impacts of climate policy;
  • incentives to U.S. farmers and foresters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in agricultural soils and forests;
  • green jobs training and assistance for workers to transition into the new jobs of a low-carbon economy;
  • reduction of deforestation and deployment of clean technologies in developing countries;
  • programs to increase resilience to climate change impacts in the United States and in developing countries; and
  • climate change education.

5. Include policies that will encourage major-emitting developing countries, like China and India, to take comparable action to reduce global warming pollution to protect the competitiveness of U.S. industry.

Under the iCAP Act, developing countries that take comparable action to reduce global warming pollution will have access to funding from the International Clean Technology Fund and will be allowed to sell “offset credits” into the U.S. market. Developing countries that carry out programs to reduce emissions from deforestation will be eligible for assistance from an International Forest Protection Fund. If a country fails to take comparable action by 2020, importers of energy-intensive primary goods (e.g., iron and steel, aluminum, cement, glass, and paper) from that country will have to purchase special reserve allowances to account for pollution generated in the production of such goods. Until 2020, U.S. manufacturers of competing primary goods will be given free allowances to prevent loss of jobs or “leakage” of emissions due to international competition.




Section 101 of the bill adds a new Title VII to the Clean Air Act, the subtitles of which are summarized below.

Subtitle A: Tracking Emissions

Subtitle A establishes a process through which EPA may designate substances as greenhouse gases for the purposes of this Act. It also directs EPA to determine (and periodically review) the quantity of each greenhouse gas that makes the same contribution to global warming as one metric ton of CO2. Subtitle A directs EPA to establish a national greenhouse gas registry to collect information on greenhouse gas emissions, on a regular basis, and make that information publicly available.

Subtitle B: Reducing Emissions

Subtitle B directs EPA to establish a National Emission Allowance Account, composed of a separate quantity of emission allowances for each calendar year from 2012 through 2050. In a table, the subtitle identifies the number of emission allowances that will be issued for each year. EPA will create, at the inception of the program, all of the emission allowances that will exist over the life of the program. Each emission allowance will have a unique serial number that will include the calendar year for which it was created. The bill covers emissions of seven greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) – plus any other anthropogenic gas that EPA designates as a greenhouse gas, based on a determination that such gas has a global warming potential equal to or greater than that of CO2. Each emission allowance is equal to one metric ton CO2-equivalent – the quantity of a greenhouse gas that makes the same contribution to global warming as one metric ton of CO2. The emissions “cap” will cover 87 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The size of the 2012 Emission Allowance Account is 6,098 allowances, which is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from sources covered by the “cap” in 2005. The size of the cap will decline each year, resulting in a reduction of U.S. emissions to 20 percent below 2005 levels in 2020 and 85 percent below 2005 levels in 2050. The bill requires the owner or operator of each “covered entity,” at the end of each calendar year beginning in 2012 and ending in 2050, to submit to EPA one emission allowance for each metric ton CO2-equivalent of greenhouse gases that they emitted or that was contained in the fuels or chemicals they put into commerce that year. Covered entities include:
  • Electric power and industrial facilities;
  • Entities that produce or import petroleum- or coal-based liquid or gaseous fuels – including most fossil-based transportation fuels;
  • Entities that produce or import HFCs, PFCs, SF6, or NF3;
  • Natural gas local distribution companies – to cover emissions from natural gas combustion by residential and commercial facilities; and
  • Geological carbon sequestration sites – to cover any leakage.

Entities that do not meet a 10,000 CO2-equivalent threshold will not be required to submit allowances. To avoid double-counting of emissions, (1) electric power and industrial facilities will not be required to submit allowances for any emissions resulting from the use of petroleumor coal-based liquid or gaseous fuels; (2) natural gas local distribution companies will not be required to submit allowances for emissions resulting from combustion of any natural gas delivered to an electric power or industrial facility that meets the 10,000 metric ton CO2- equivalent threshold; and (3) electric power and industrial facilities will not be required to submit allowances for emissions of HFCs, PFCs, SF6, or NF3. HFC producers will not be required to submit allowances between 2012 and 2019 in order to ensure U.S. success in meeting Montreal Protocol targets for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances and to allow adequate time for environmentally preferable substitutes for HFCs to come to market. A covered entity may submit domestic offset credits approved by EPA under subtitle E in lieu of emission allowances to satisfy up to 15 percent of its compliance requirement. A covered entity may also submit international emission allowances or offset credits approved by EPA under subtitle F to satisfy up to 15 percent of its compliance requirement. EPA will issue destruction credits to entities that convert a greenhouse gas (other than methane) to another gas with a lower global warming potential. The number of credits issued will be equal to the number of metric tons of CO2-equivalent of reduction in global warming potential achieved through such conversion. A covered entity may use these credits to satisfy up to 100 percent of its annual compliance requirements.

Subtitle C: Distribution of Allowances

Subtitle C directs EPA to auction virtually all of the emission allowances each year, beginning with 94 percent auction from 2012-2019 and transitioning to 100 percent auction in 2020. The remaining allowances will be provided to U.S. manufacturers of trade-exposed primary goods (such as iron and steel, cement, aluminum, bulk glass, and paper) as a transitional measure to avoid production shifting abroad and thus undermining the environmental objectives of this bill. Six percent of total allowances in 2012 through 2020 (with a cumulative value of $96 billion) will be allocated to manufacturers based upon the predicted adverse impact of direct and indirect costs of this Act.

To optimize market liquidity and stability, auctions will be held on a quarterly basis. Allowances for the current compliance year and for future compliance years (up to four years in the future) will be available at each auction. Auction proceeds will be used for a variety of public benefit purposes. Up to 0.5 percent of auction proceeds will be deposited in to the Climate Protection Management Fund to cover the costs associated with EPA and FERC administration of the Act. Fifty million dollars per year will be dedicated to climate change education programs and centers for excellence established under Subtitle H of Title III. All remaining proceeds will be divided among 10 separate funds which will fund the programs described in Title III and Title IV of this Act.

Subtitle D: Trading, Banking, and Borrowing

Subtitle D establishes rules for the trading, banking, and borrowing of emission allowances. Anyone may buy, sell, or transfer emission allowances, or submit them to EPA for retirement. Unlimited “banking” of allowances for future use is permitted. A covered entity may also borrow allowances from EPA (to be drawn from the emissions budget for future years) to meet up to 15 percent of its annual compliance obligation, but an allowance “loan” must be repaid within 5 years with 10 percent annual interest.

Subtitle E: Offsets

Subtitle E establishes a program to issue offset credits to entities that carry out projects in the United States that achieve real, verifiable, additional, permanent, and enforceable reductions in emissions or increases in storage of carbon in plants and soils. Four types of projects will be eligible to receive offset credits:
  • Reductions in (outside-the-cap) greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas systems;
  • Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations that are not covered by performance standards under subtitle H;
  • Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from abandoned coal mines; and
  • Increases in biological carbon sequestration through afforestation and reforestation.

Activities covered by compliance obligations in subtitle B or performance standards in subtitle H, or receiving support under subtitle D of Title III are not eligible to earn offset credits. Subtitle E directs EPA to establish standardized monitoring, quantification, and accounting protocols and standards for approval of offset credits. Offset credits may be claimed for eligible projects annually by submitting verification reports certified by an accredited third party to EPA.

Subtitle F: International Emission Allowances and Offset Credits

Subtitle F directs EPA to establish regulations providing for approval of emission allowances from foreign greenhouse markets that impose mandatory absolute limits on emissions that are of comparable stringency to the program established by this bill, including comparable monitoring, compliance, and enforcement practices.

Subtitle F also directs EPA to establish regulations providing for approval of categories and subcategories of international offset credits that meet certain criteria. Only credits generated from projects in countries that have taken action on climate change comparable to that of the United States, or in countries that have very low emissions or are among the least developed of developing countries, are eligible for use under this title.

Subtitle G: Global Effort to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Subtitle G encourages the President to work proactively under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in other appropriate forums, to establish binding agreements committing all major greenhouse gas-emitting nations to contribute equitably to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. Subtitle G also directs the President to determine whether each foreign country has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is “comparable” to that of the United States, taking into account the level of economic development of each country. If, by 2020, any of our trading partners have not taken “comparable” action, the President is authorized to require importers of trade-exposed primary goods (e.g., iron and steel, cement, aluminum, bulk glass, and paper) from those countries to purchase special “international reserve allowances” to account for the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of the goods. Least-developed countries and countries with very low greenhouse gas emissions will be exempt from this requirement. The pool of international reserve allowances will be separate from the domestic emission allowance pool, so that the program will not affect domestic emission levels or the price of domestic emission allowances. Proceeds from the sale of international reserve allowances will provide supplemental funding for the International Clean Technology Fund described in subtitle B of Title IV.

Subtitle H: Standards for Coal-Fired Power Plants and Non-Covered Facilities

Subtitle H directs EPA to promulgate performance standards for certain sources not included under the cap – such as coal mines, landfills, wastewater treatment operations, and large animal feeding operations – that emit at least 10,000 metric tons CO2-equivalent per year. These standards will require such sources to apply best available control technologies or practices. Subtitle H also establishes mandatory performance standards for any new coal-fired power plant, requiring all plants on which construction begins after January 1, 2009, to achieve capture and geological sequestration of 85 percent of their CO2 emissions within a defined time frame.


Section 102 of the Act amends sections 113, 114, and 307 of the Clean Air Act to make the Act’s existing mechanisms for enforcement, inspections, administrative process, and judicial review applicable to the new Title VII of the Act.


To ensure proper use and disposal of HFCs and other fluorinated gases used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, this section amends sections 608 and 609 of the Clean Air Act to extend to these substances the requirements of the Clean Air Act that already apply to the sale, use, and disposal of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).


This section overrides EPA’s unfounded denial, in December 2007, of California’s petition for a waiver of preemption under the Clean Air Act of its greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. This will permit California and the other States that have adopted the California standards to proceed with implementation of these standards.


This section amends section 211 of the Clean Air Act to establish a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The LCFS establishes a market-based system to incentivize reductions in the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and use of transportation fuels, through deployment of advanced biofuels, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen. The LCFS is integrated with the current Renewable Fuel Standard, promoting a long-term market for substitutes to petroleum.


Title II creates a new Office of Carbon Market Oversight (“OCMO”) within FERC, which is charged with ensuring transparency, fairness, and stability in the market for emission allowances, offset credits, and derivatives thereof (referred to as “regulated instruments”). The OCMO will establish rules requiring registration of (1) self-regulated “registered carbon trading facilities” on which regulated instruments are traded, (2) “carbon clearing organizations” that provide clearing services to trading facilities, and (3) brokers and dealers trading in regulated instruments. Registered carbon trading facilities will publicize price and other trading data and enforce rules against fraud and market manipulation. Trading of regulated instruments generally will be limited to registered exchanges, except that, in order to provide greater flexibility and efficiency in hedging carbon risks, large institutions and high net-worth individuals are permitted to trade regulated derivatives off-exchange (in the over-the-counter market). To ensure market transparency, the OCMO will establish regulations providing for reporting of trading activity by large traders in regulated instruments. To prevent market participants from seeking to “corner” or otherwise manipulate the market, the OCMO may adopt position limits or position accountability requirements for regulated instruments.

Title II establishes rules against fraud and market manipulation, which OCMO is authorized to enforce through administrative procedures and penalties, civil enforcement actions in federal district court, or (in the case of knowing or willful violations) criminal prosecution. Finally, the OCMO will monitor the functioning of the carbon market and its effects on the U.S. economy and will provide quarterly reports to Congress.


Title III establishes a series of domestic programs funded by auction proceeds. A description of each program, along with an estimate of cumulative funding for the program over the life of the bill, is provided below.

Subtitle A: Climate Trust Tax Credits and Rebates

Under Subtitle A, $4.3 trillion (55 to 58.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used for refundable tax credits and rebates for middle- and low-income households, to compensate for any increase in energy costs resulting from the bill. Tax credits will be used to reach middleincome wage earners and senior citizens, and cash rebates – distributed through the Electronic Benefits Transfer systems used for food stamps – will be used to reach low-income households. All households earning under $110,000 will be eligible. Virtually all costs from climate regulation will be covered for households earning under $70,000, with benefit levels phasing out gradually for households earning $70,000 to $110,000.

Subtitle B: Low-Carbon Technology Fund

Under Subtitle B, $963 billion (12.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund lowcarbon energy technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment programs administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). These include RD&D programs authorized under existing law in the areas of renewable electricity generation, carbon capture and sequestration, electric transmission and distribution efficiency (including smart grid technologies), low-carbon renewable fuels, low-emission vehicles, building efficiency, industrial efficiency, energy storage technologies, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (“ARPA-E”). In addition, Subtitle B establishes two new programs to promote the deployment of renewable electricity generation – the first awards production payments through a reverse auction and the second provides rebates for the purchase and installation of distributed generation technologies such as solar panels. From 2010-2020, cost-sharing grants are authorized to cover the incremental costs of implementing carbon capture and sequestration technology at coal-fired power plants.

Subtitle C: National Energy Efficiency Fund

Under Subtitle C, $963 billion (12.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund a broad array of efficiency programs. These include: (1) a program to award incentive payments to States based on the magnitude of energy savings each State achieves each year through consumer efficiency programs; (2) programs to award grants to states that adopt and implement building efficiency and recycling policies; (3) funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income persons and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; and (4) grants to support state and local mass transit and “smart growth” projects that will reduce vehicle miles traveled.

Subtitle D: Agriculture and Forestry Carbon Fund

Under Subtitle D, $378 billion (4.5 to 5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund a program, administered by the Department of Agriculture, to support projects by U.S. farmers and foresters that increase biological sequestration of carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved agricultural soil management and forest management practices (not including afforestation and reforestation). USDA is also directed to undertake a complementary program of research, education, and outreach on agriculture and forestry greenhouse gas management.

Subtitle E: Worker Transition Assistance and Green Jobs Training

Under Subtitle E, $147 billion (1.5 to 2 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund the green jobs training programs established under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and a program, administered by the Department of Labor, which will provide training, income support, and tax credits for health care insurance for up to two years to any workers affected by the transition to a new low-carbon economy.

Subtitle F: National Climate Change Adaptation Program

Under Subtitle F, $185 billion (2 to 2.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support a comprehensive program to increase America’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. Under this program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will (1) develop periodic regional and national assessments of America’s vulnerability to climate change impacts; and (2) establish a National Climate Service to provide research products and decision tools, based upon robust monitoring and observational capabilities, to federal, state, local, and tribal decision makers to assist with developing adaptation strategies. Subtitle F also requires federal agencies to develop and implement plans to address climate change impacts within their respective jurisdictions and directs the President, pursuant to a detailed plan submitted for congressional review, to fund state, local, and tribal government programs and projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Subtitle G: Natural Resource Conservation Fund

Under Subtitle G, $147 billion (1.5 to 2 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support measures, implemented by federal land and natural resource management agencies and the States, to protect U.S. natural resources, wildlife, and fisheries against adverse impacts from climate change. Federally administered funds must be used in accord with a national strategy developed by the President, with advice from a science advisory committee, and state-administered funds must be used in accord with federally approved state strategies.

Subtitle H: Climate Change Education and Centers for Excellence

Under Subtitle H, $2 billion (up to $50 million per year) will be used to provide support, through the National Science Foundation and EPA, for the development and implementation of climate change education programs and to provide cost-sharing grants supporting the establishment, at colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations, of national centers for excellence on climate change science, technology, and policy.


Title IV establishes three international programs, funded by auction proceeds, to encourage global action to combat climate change.

Subtitle A: International Forest Protection Fund

Under Subtitle A, $147 billion (1.5 to 2 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support policies in qualifying developing countries that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation or increase biological carbon sequestration through restoration of forests and degraded lands, afforestation, and improved forest management. Countries that do not initially qualify for inclusion in the incentive program are eligible for grants to build their capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation and increase carbon storage in forests.

Subtitle B: International Clean Technology Fund

Under Subtitle B, $301 billion (3.5 to 4 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support an international clean technology fund. This fund will provide support for the adoption of clean energy and efficiency technologies by major-emitting developing countries that the President certifies, under Title I, as having taken “comparable action” to combat climate change, taking into account the country’s level of economic development.

Subtitle C: International Climate Change Adaptation Fund

Under Subtitle C, $185 billion (2 to 2.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support an international adaptation program, to be administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, which will fund projects to assist the most vulnerable developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change.


Title V amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to require EPA to develop comprehensive regulatory standards for underground injection of carbon dioxide. Representative Edward J. Markey Investing in Climate Action 9 and Protection Act Title V also directs EPA to establish a task force charged with providing Congress with recommendations regarding the legal framework to govern liability with respect to closed geological storage sites. Finally, the Secretary of Energy is directed to undertake a feasibility study regarding construction of carbon dioxide pipelines and geological sequestration facilities.


Title VI incorporates provisions from the House-passed version of the energy bill from 2007, requiring the Department of Energy to develop model building efficiency codes that States are required to adopt and enforce. States that do so become eligible for funding from the National Energy Efficiency Fund (described in subtitle C of Title III).


Title VII establishes a comprehensive framework for periodic review and reports to Congress, by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and relevant federal agencies, of all major aspects of the bill. The NAS is directed to report every five years on the latest scientific information relevant to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts and the bill’s performance in reducing emissions. The GAO is directed to report every three years on Federal agencies’ administration of, and performance of, the programs established under titles III and IV of the bill. Every five years, an interagency body will make recommendations to the President, and the President will in turn make recommendations to Congress, on changes to the framework established by the bill based on the NAS’s and GAO’s most recent findings and recommendations. Title VI also provides for expedited Congressional consideration of a presidential recommendation to tighten the bill’s emissions cap if the NAS’s scientific findings indicate such action is necessary.

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.

EPA Defies Another Subpoena: 'It May Create Erroneous Impressions' 1

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 17 Apr 2008 22:25:00 GMT

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room.

In continued defiance of Congressional oversight, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has flatly declined to obey a subpoena from the House Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence. The subpoena for documents relating to the EPA’s refusal to obey the Supreme Court mandate to regulate greenhouse gases was issued by a unanimous, bipartisan vote on April 2, a year after the Supreme Court decision.

On April 11, the EPA requested and received an extension to respond, but today the agency has decided not to turn over the documents: Grave Concerns

Whether or not the EPA has “grave concerns” about “erroneous impressions,” a “chilling effect,” and “institutional prerogatives,” these are not legally defensible reasons to defy a Congressional subpoena. In a terse response, Committee chair Ed Markey (D-MA) found the reasoning “unpersuasive.” The letter continues:

Subpoena Cloud

Of course, if the EPA simply turned over the documents, it would no longer be under such a “cloud.”

The EPA is also defying the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena for related documents on White House involvement. Both letters of refusal were written by EPA assistant administrator Christopher P. Bliley—who was OMB head Jim Nussle’s chief of staff in Congress.

Warming Law notes this defiance likely triggers contempt of Congress proceedings for EPA administrator Stephen Johnson.

View the full letter: EPA 4-16-08 Subpoena Response (PDF)

House Leadership Prepares Cap-and-Trade Legislation for April

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 10 Mar 2008 13:26:00 GMT

E&E News’s Darren Samuelson reports in a pair of stories that the House of Representatives is moving forward to introduce companion legislation to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191), the cap-and-trade legislation wending its way through the Senate. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), whose Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction, told steel industry officials last week that he plans “to release one or more draft global warming bills for comment by mid-April.”

Samuelson also reported that Rep. Markey, chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and a strong ally of Speaker Pelosi, has been meeting with “alternative energy producers, labor groups, financial market officials and industry representatives” to craft legislation.
Rep. Markey is preparing to send a report directly to Pelosi with proposals to address climate change or offer amendments when the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a markup on a major piece of climate legislation, sources on and off Capitol Hill said today.

Markey said: “I think you should do the best you can each year. I do. And we have a real chance this year. If there’s an epiphany that occurred at the White House, then there we are with a chance to make history.”

Markey Calls Out Toyota On "Impossible" CAFE Standards

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 04 Oct 2007 19:59:00 GMT

Toyota is now responding to NRDC’s challenge to drop its opposition to the Markey-Platts CAFE standard increase (since echoed by UCS and Ed Markey, and written up by Tom Friedman):
There are various bills before Congress that would mandate a new target of 35 mpg by 2020 and require both cars and trucks to meet that standard. Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on research and development but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist.

Toyota has long supported an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Moreover, Toyota has always exceeded federal fuel economy requirements. We are continuously striving to improve our fuel economy, regardless of federal mandates.

Toyota currently supports a proposal known as the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, that would set a new standard of up to 35 mpg by 2022 (up to a 40% increase) and maintain separate categories for cars and light trucks. Although this won’t be easy, we believe it is achievable.

House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee chairman Ed Markey responds: “Apparently the only thing that separates Toyota from the ‘impossible dream’ of 35 miles per gallon here in the U.S., is a flight across the Pacific Ocean,” as Toyota meets Japan’s (and Europe’s) fuel efficiency standards of greater than 40 MPG, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

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