NewEnergyNews: A CLIMATE CHANGE BILL WORTH DEBATING

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YESTERDAY

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, April 19:
  • San Diego Gas & Electric’s Industry-Leading Plan To Fight Wildfires

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    A CLIMATE CHANGE BILL WORTH DEBATING

    Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass), Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming: “The chorus for change is deafening…The call of this generation is to stop global warming. And today I put forth [this bill] as a signal of light for those who wish to stand together in the fight to save our planet.”

    The
    Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act (iCAP) would implement a cap-and-trade system to cut 85% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It would auction 94% of all allowances in the first year and more yearly to 100% in 2020. Half the revenues from the allowance auction would go to low and middle-income households to compensate for increased energy costs. The other half would go to New Energy development.

    The legislation also includes an international clean technology fund (to bring in China and India), a climate change adaptation fund, a forest protection fund and a requirement for new coal plants to include emissions capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies.

    Markey hopes to bring his bill before the House Of Representatives for debate in the first week of June. That same week, the Senate is expected to take up its Warner (R-Va.)/Lieberman (I-Conn.) climate change proposal. Warner/Lieberman would also institute cap-and-trade but with significantly fewer allowances auctioned.

    Markey admits his bill is less likely to prevail. He does not expect any climate change legislation to be passed until after the next President takes office. His intention is to offer insights and initiate debate.

    Markey: “My goal here is to present the lessons which I have learned over the last year and a half in the hearings that the [committee] has had…This is intended to be another important part of the debate as we move forward in the House.”

    Congressman Markey likens climate change legislation to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which, though opposed by entrenched business interests, led to the I.T. revolution and gave the world Google, Amazon and YouTube.

    Markey: “That is the role of government, to move from the black-rotary-dial-phone era to the broadband-Google-YouTube era. We had to change the policy, though, because the companies weren’t doing it.”

    iCAP is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters and Friends of the Earth. Whatever the fate of the bill, Congressman Markey has once again pushed the issue of global climate change front and center and raised questions worth debating.


    Rep. Markey used "iCAP" to liken his legislation to the iPod. (click to enlarge)

    Markey unveils sweeping climate change legislation
    Daniel W. Reilly, May 28, 2008 (Politico)
    and
    On your Markey
    Kate Sheppard, 28 May 2008 (Grist)
    and
    Markey to release aggressive global warming bill
    Jim Snyder, May 28, 2008 (The Hill)

    WHO
    Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass), Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Speaker of the House of Representatives

    Rep. Markey's committee. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    Markey announced Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act (iCAP), climate change legislation he will bring to the House floor.

    WHEN
    - Congressman Markey’s committee has been holding hearings on climate change for more than a year.
    - iCAP would take emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.
    - Serious climate change scientists have indicated GhG emissions need to be 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 in order to head off the worst impacts.

    Competing legislation. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    - Markey announced the legislation in a press conference at the Center for American Progress.
    - Climate change legislation is expected to be brought before both houses of Congress.

    WHY
    - Speaker Pelosi is reported to have personally selected Markey to lead the floor fight on this climate change legislation but it is not certain the Speaker has endorsed iCAP. There are competing climate change measures in the House.
    - House Republicans are expected to reject iCAP.
    - iCAP would auction 94% of allowances initially, rising to 10% by 2020. 6% of allowances would be given to the hardest hit industries (iron, steel, cement) to sustain their international competitiveness.
    - 50% of auction revenue, as much as $8 trillion, would go as compensation for rising energy costs to low- (below $70,000/year) and middle-income (up to $110,000/year) families.
    - The other half of revenues would be directed to New Energy development.
    - The legislation includes (1) an international clean technology fund (to bring in China and India), (2) a climate change adaptation fund, (3) a forest protection fund, (4) a requirement for coal plants built after 2009 to have CCS technologies abd (5) oversight by governmental agencies that can suspend auctioning allowances if prices rise too precipitously.

    An equitable allocation of revenues from emissions auctions. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Markey: "It's been a free ride for polluters…For those of us who want a safe climate, the iCAP bill I'm introducing is the market correction we've been waiting for."
    - Gene Karpinski , President, League of Conservation Voters: "[iCAP is] a very aggressive, comprehensive, ambitious bill that would get the job done…It's the kind of bill that Congress needs to pass and the president needs to sign…"
    - Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich), Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee: “I am delighted to see that Congressman Markey has come forward with a plan to address climate change. I welcome input from all Members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce…I look forward to receiving a copy of the legislation and look forward to holding hearings on the subject in June.”

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