Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Boxer & Kerry drop a climate bill

Finally, we're making some moves (and riiighttt before the Power Shift Regional Summits, no less).

I don't have time to get too crazy right now, but here is a quick summary:

"Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act," comes in at 821 pages, starting with a mandate by 2020 to curb the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels. It omits many details, leaving negotiations with Democrats and Republican moderates to fill in the blanks.

But the measure offers specifics on several critical issues, ranging from incentives for natural gas and nuclear power to how Congress can promote tree planting and sustainable farming practices as alternative compliance options for industry.

The bill's sponsors also sought to change the legislative lingo surrounding the bill, dropping references to "cap and trade." Instead, Boxer and Kerry released a summary of their bill that labeled greenhouse gas trading provisions as a "Pollution Reduction and Investment" program. Boxer also touted a proposal allocating emission allowances that is aimed at fiscal conservatives who think past climate proposals cost too much.

"The bill does not add one penny to the deficit," Boxer said. "We're very excited about that." full article


Anonymous said...

So I'm curious if when Boxer says it doesn't add to the deficit does she exclude lost tax revenues as a result of slower economic growth due to the cost of compliance... or the costs of more people going on welfare programs as our manufactures lay off workers because they can't compete well with nations who don't have these regulations or does she account for companies moving their operations over seas to avoid the "Limitation and Investment"... even if it is theoretically deficit neutral in that it raises as much in taxes as it costs to enforce there is still dead weight loss in the economy from taxes and a lower comparative advantage in our exports leading to relatively lower GDP and therefore lower government revenues... thus adding to the deficit in a round about way. That's ignoring the recent announcement by renowned global warming scientist that we are looking at a decade of COOLING in our immediate future... if we have a decade break from global warming maybe we should work on technology instead of crushing our economy... science tends to do a lot in a decade or two... hrmmm... Don't get me wrong conservatives play the same "hide the ball" games that I suspect Boxer is doing here and I don't like it when they do it either... although I don't call them out on it as loudly because others usually beat me to the punch... I'd like to see honest debate on the costs and benefits... if its as important as they claim then it should be worth the costs but it makes me irritable when they claim to be fixing things "for free" when the truth is it costs huge amounts that simply don't make it on the books... its like Enron in the public sector lol just toy with the wording and accounting to make everything look wonderful... Maybe it needs to be done but lets put an honest price tag on it and do a real study of the benefits so that honest people can decide and not just assume that the government can wave a magic wand and make everything better without any side effects. :)

Vanessa said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I'm in a crunch to get work done, so my response will be brief for now.

Regarding the climate cooling, here is an interesting article that I keep meaning to parse through on my blog:

In terms of your concerns with the economy, this is the way I see it: it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars (modestly) to clean-up a SINGLE site that has been degraded by, for example, impacts of coal mining (see my recent post, "coal company settles lawsuit regarding toxic mine")

Look down a few posts further, you will read about how lead and other yucky stuff from coal mining contaminates drinking/bathing water for nearby neighborhood, resulting in high cancer rates, scabby terrible skin conditions, rotting teeth, premature death etc etc. I wonder how much that costs?

In the past 5 years, violations of the Clean Water Act have hit the roof--and the act is not being enforced. This means that after enough litigation, after-the-fact cleanup will cost lots of money--and who knows what conditions can ever be completely reversed.

But, perhaps from your perspective, you think that cleaning up contaminated soil and providing cancer care creates more jobs, and boosts the economy.

Because water, air, and soil (ESPECIALLY TOP SOIL) are so precious, climate change aside, these resources need to be protected.

BTW, I see job creation and the opportunity for the US to gain a competitive edge in the green industry.