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THE FAILURE OF CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION
IN THE U.S. CONGRESS 2009-2010
Climate change legislation failed in the U.S. Congress. Why?
One problem was industry opposition. Another more serious problem was a failure in leadership in key U.S. environmental groups such NRDC and Environmental Defense Fund. These groups backed a horribly complicated special interest gravy train called "cap and trade". This divided the environmental community and failed to create a powerful political consensus for reform.
Hopefully in 2011 we shall see real reform such as a simple carbon tax and a gas tax such as that which exists in most nations of Europe.
This is the third massive failure of environmental leadership under Obama. The others were the utter disaster of the Copenhagen climate summit detailed in our report and the failure of the chemical regulation reform bill.
OFFICIAL RECORDS ON 2009 HOUSE AND SENATE CAP AND TRADE BILLS
House Cap and Trade Bill HR 2454 (Passed by the House)
Find the full text of H.R. 2454, the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" (Waxman-Markey) bill here.
Hearings and Committee actions.
Senate Cap and Trade Bill S 1733 (Voted out of Committee. Awaiting action in the Senate)
Find the full text of S. 1733, the "Clean Energy, Jobs and American Power Act" here.
The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public works' Press Release on S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act can be found here.
Senator Kerry's press release on the introduction of S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act and additional documents can be found here.
Op-Ed article on the bill written jointly by Senator Kerry (D) and Senator Graham (R) in the New York Times. Read it here. (10/10/2009)
On October 26, 2009 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public works began its hearing on S. 1733 - Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Testimony was given by the following members of President Obama's Cabinet: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Head of the EPA Lisa Jackson and Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. You can find an overview of all the testimonies and view them individually here. You can also click here for a full C-Span video of the first day of the hearings (October 27). Click here for October 28, here for October 29 and here for November 4th.
Also, on November 10 the Senate Finance Committee began their hearings, which you can access here.
GROWING ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICISM OF THE "CAP AND TRADE" BILLS.
One of America's leading climate experts, James Hansen of NASA, calls for junking the "cap and trade" plan calling it a "counterfeit climate bill" and a "Ponzi" scheme. Click here for his article.
Laurie Williams and Allan Zable, two lawyers working for the Environmental Protection Agency (which has endorsed the bill) have raised some very serious questions about the House and Senate "cap and trade" bills.. Here is their web site. They say that the carbon offsets included in the bill are likely to increase emissions, not reduce them. Click here for their op-ed in the Washington Post. (10/31/2009) and here to read their original discussion paper. The EPA has tried to get their video taken down. "How is government supposed to be transparent when public servants are forbidden from discussing the nature of their work?" asks Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Director Jeff Ruch. Click here (New York Times, 11/09/2009) and here (The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 11/09/2009) for more information on the EPA's efforts to silence them.
Here is the video (produced by two of its own lawyers) that the EPA is trying to suppress:
Greenpeace issued a public statement that it opposes H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill, stating the bill lacks scientific foundation and would benefit polluters. You can read the statement here.
Friends of the Earth strongly criticized H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill for giving out free permits to polluters, for limiting the White House's and EPA's ability to act unilaterally and more. To read a full statement by the Friends of the Earth click here.
Friends of the Earth offer criticism on S. 1733, the Senate climate bill because emission limits are only half of what the group deems appropriate. Furthermore, unwarranted subsidies to the dirty energy industry and offset loopholes prompt additional criticism. Click here to see the full statement.
The Friends of the Earth report on problems with carbon markets. Click here for a PDF copy of the report.
The Breakthrough Institute published an analysis on H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill in which it disapproved of the bill for its failure to spur significant investment in clean energy technologies and for an excess of emission permits which would severely limit the bills effectiveness in the first couple of years. To access the analysis click here. It suggests Waxman Markey is such a mess that it might even raise carbon emissions.
Scientists claim far more is needed than the present U.S. climate bills. Click here.
In Europe existing carbon markets are found to be mostly fraudulent. Click here (Greenleft, 1/15/2010) and here. (Daily Telegraph, 12/30/2009)
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) states that cap and trade emissions control plans have poor track records and are likely to fail. Click here to see that article and here to access the main PEER website.
Warren Buffet Executive Condemns Cap and Trade
CARBON TAX SUPPORTERS
The Carbon Tax Center is another organization that focuses on supporting efforts to implement a carbon tax. On their website they list scientists and economists, public officials, opinion leaders and writers who are in favor of a Carbon Tax.
Former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman endorses carbon tax. Article on this from Carbon Tax Center.
Article on Nordhaus carbon tax plan. Nordhaus home page.
Click here to access the website of the Climate Crisis Coalition.
Click here to access the website of the Price Carbon Campaign, an organization founded to implement a carbon tax, instead of a Cap-and-Trade system.
The U.S. Climate Task Force favours pricing carbon as a better alternative to the Cap-and-Trade system.
The French President Sarkozy unveils details of carbon tax law. Click here. (New York Times, 9/9/2009)
ALTERNATIVE BILLS TO CAP AND TRADE
CBO reports that a carbon tax "would be the most efficient incentive-based option for reducing emissions and could be relatively easy to implement. Click here. (2/15/2008)
On January 15th 2009 Representative Pete Stark (D-California) introduced H.R. 594 Save our Climate Act. If passed, the bill would place a tax on primary fossil fuels depending on their carbon content. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means on the same day it was introduced. Click here to see the full text of the bill and here to see Representative Stark's press release.
On March 5th 2009 Representative John Larson (D-Connecticut) introduced H.R. 1337 America's Energy Security Trust Fund Act of 2009. It intends to amend the Internal Revenue Code so that carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced. You can find the full text of the bill here.
House bill for a carbon tax to cut emissions faces a steep climb. Click here. (New York Times, 3/6/2009)
Larson bill raises the bar for congressional Climate action. Click here. (Carbon Tax Center, 3/6/2009)
Cantwell Collins Bill
In a bipartisan effort Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington (D) and Susan Collins of Maine (R) introduced fresh Climate legislation on December 11th, 2009. The CLEAR-Act is a carbon tax-based bill aimed at replacing the two existing carbon market-based bills introduced by Waxman-Markey and Boxer-Kerry in the House and Senate, respectively. You can find the full text here (PDF) and helpful links regarding the bill on Senator Cantwell's CLEAR-Act website.
"Cantwell and Collins’ bill, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act, or CLEAR Act, would have the president set a gradually declining cap and require fossil fuel carbon producers — the miners and drillers, rather than the emitters — to buy permits at auction. Only those companies in need of the permits would be allowed to participate. That cuts out speculators and Wall Street traders, two areas of concern among several Democrats. The CLEAR act would then return 75 percent of the auction proceeds to the people and invest the rest in clean technology and adaptation needs." (Solveclimate -1/19/2010)
Click here for a video of Senator Cantwell's introduction of the bill, as well as many helpful links regarding the CLEAR Act, including a very good comparison (PDF) to the Waxman-Markey bill already passed by the house.
Cantwell-Collins Bill receives a mixed response. Click here. (The Hill, 12/14/2009)
Carbon Trading Nonsense. An Op-ed in favor of carbon tax-based climate legislation. Click here. (Common Dreams, 1/11/2010)
CLEAR Act lacks specifics say some environmental groups. Click here. (Alternet, 12/27/2009)