House Energy and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey released their draft energy and climate bill last Tuesday. It’s very comprehensive. It’s also far from perfect. It’s also, for now, just a draft, sure to change and be amended. For those of you who just want a quick peek at what this bill is about, here is the bill’s 5-page summary (pdf) and here is a portion of the introduction:
The legislation has four titles: (1) a “clean energy” title that promotes renewable sources of energy and carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon transportation fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission; (2) an “energy efficiency” title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry; (3) a “global warming” title that places limits on the emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and (4) a “transitioning” title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.
Overall, the bill is pretty decent. It’s not as strong as I think it should be. Knowing that it will be amended and changed in subcommittees, committees and during Senate-House negotiations, I’m afraid I see too much room for major weakening to be done. There is no time left for weakening. The U.S. needs to take an aggressive stance on greenhouse forcing. We’ve caused plenty of change to the climate system already with even more to come that’s “in the pipeline”. Whatever this legislation ends up doing, it will take time to implement and then more time to take effect. Then there will be interactions with the international community. As the world’s largest greenhouse forcer, it is up to us to take responsibility for our actions and start leading the world on the most critical 21st century issue we’ll face.
Below, I go through most of the 5-page summary items. The items stack up to a pretty big list. Having this draft summary is important as we’ll see what changes are implemented in the next couple of months and what the final legislation ends up containing. Oh, and if you’re feeling really adventurous, here is the entire draft bill (Big pdf!).