Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Climate Bill Action In The Senate – 9/30/09

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The Senate version of the 2009 energy and climate bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, has made some small progress this week.  The draft version of their version of the legislation, largely constructed thanks to Sen. Boxer and Sen. Kerry, is reported to include a 20% reduction of 2005 GHG emissions by 2020, which is slightly better than the 17% goal in the House ACES bill.  This version should have been released after a 11:30A EDT press event in D.C. today.  Like the House bill, a cap-and-trade system is established.  Also, pollution allowances will be generated, but no distribution plan has been laid out yet.

It is well worth noting that GHG emissions are estimated to have been reduced by 6% below 2005 levels thanks to the Republican’s Great Recession.  So the 20% reduction is really an additional 14% reduction, according to the Senate version, and an additional 11% reduction according to the House version.  Which means it is very, very doable.  Energy efficiency measures alone would likely help us achieve those reductions in time for the 2020 goal.  Between now and then, as climate change effects continue to take hold, and political willpower to do something about climate change hopefully grows, technologies will be developed and marketed and it will become normal to reduce our greenhouse forcing.

The Cons, of course, continue to stand in the way of desperately needed action.  In a continuation of their failed 20th century political ideology, they can only respond with two-word talking points, or ridiculous responsibility absolvement, offering no plan of their own.  What they need to do for the American people is explain why $1240 Trillion in costs through the end of the century is a more worthwhile goal than what Democrats are proposing.

Hearings on the bill should start in early October.  That’s both good and bad news.  Committees involved include (not limited to) the Foreign Relations, Agriculture, Commerce and my recent favorite, Finance.  We’ll see what Sen. Baucus does to this legislation.  Does Dirty Energy give Baucus as much money as Big Insurance et al.?  The country and the world can’t wait for action.  They can’t tolerate the U.S. Senate’s “clubbiness” on this issue.

It should be no secret that I think climate change is a much more pressing matter than health care, or any other policy matter.  Nothing has the potential to wreck the U.S. and the world like climate change.  Increases in health care costs can’t reach the Trillions per year that climate change costs can.  There is no tomorrow in the climate change action front any longer.  We either do something substantial now or everything we’ve doing to improve Americans’ lives with regard to health care reform won’t matter one whit.  I became aware of a new study today that puts these statements in even sharper focus – I’ll post something on that very soon.

Sen. Kerry has a good webpage on The Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act here.

Cross-posted at SquareState.


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