Monday, September 24, 2007

Climate legislation in Congress

Inel suggests I take a look at this post on climate change legislation currently in Congress. My wise words on all this are - I dunno. I'd guess that anything comprehensive that didn't get vetoed by Bush would be so weak that it would actually be a mistake - the footdraggers would then use the previously-passed legislation as an excuse to do nothing for the next few years when we'll likely have a Democratic president and bigger Democratic majority in Congress.

But I also don't think they're really trying to get anything passed before 2009, so this is all just prep-work, of a type. Dingell's prep-work bill is a poison pill, IMHO - making the perfect the enemy of the good so that nothing will happen on fuel economy standards, all in order to keep the car industry dinosaurs from being forced to do anything to save themselves or the climate. Opinions vary on this, I guess - Gristmill's been covering it.

I've got a much better opinion of Lieberman-Warner. However awful Lieberman is on Iraq and civil liberties, he's been very good on environmental issues. And yes, a carbon tax or a sale of all carbon permits, instead of just 24% of them, would be better, but the question is just how far you can push the utility industries and all their other polluter allies. Starting with 24% doesn't seem all that bad to me.

Bill details here. Some interesting parts:

Each year 4% [of carbon allocations] will be allocated to state governments, half based on population, half on historical state emissions.

Finally some partial recognition that allocations based on past emissions is unjust.
24% in 2012 will go to auction under the aegis of the Climate Change Credit Corporation; rising to 52% by 2035.
So the percentage gets better.

CCS regulations and a legal framework for the Federal assumption of liability for geological storage will be proposed by a study group within two years of enactment.



“The bill will set forth detailed, rigorous requirements for offsets, with the purpose of ensuring that they will represent real, additional, verifiable, and permanent emissions reductions.”

That's all solved then.

Foreign Tariffs

The President will be authorized to require that importers of GHG-intensive products submit emissions allowances of a value equivalent to that of the allowances that the US system effectively requires of domestic manufacturers, if it is determined that nation has not taken commensurate action to reduce GHG emissions.

I still think a trade agreement is the way to go with binding international climate action, dammit.

UPDATE: Saw this article on the same issue, with basically the same viewpoint. It's also probably worth mentioning that legislation providing for improved science, and for energy efficiency aid to developing countries could become law soon, and have a modest value.

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