Monday, May 18, 2009

Compromise Climate Bill Pleases Some While Miffing Others

The Waxman/Markey Climate Energy bill pleases President Obama, Virginia coal country Congressman Rick Boucher, most environmental groups, utilities, coal companies and other industry groups. There is still 11th hour wrangling over whether reductions should be 20%, 17% or 14% by 2020, but the House might just have legislation it can pass by its self-imposed Memorial Day deadline. President Obama wants to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.

The Center can support this legislation even if the bar is eventually lowered to a 14% reduction. Although groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have already condemned the legislation, getting any climate legislation through Congress is almost a miracle. We are delighted that Waxman/Markey also took our advice and abandoned auctioning the allowances. This will keep utilitly bills from increasing and copies the successful Acid Rain Program, which allocated allowances free to utilities. We need to get started somewhere and the Waxman/Markey compromise is as good a place as any. The Senate will be a major mountain to climb. The Center's EDR Program is the way to go anyway and we hope some visionary in the Congress will read it and see its wisdom.

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