Friday, June 26, 2009
By any measure — drought, famine, coastal devastation — the costs of inaction, of clinging to a broken energy policy, will dwarf the costs of acting now
Update, approximately 6:15 p.m., Hays County Time: The House of Representatives has just passed The American Clean Energy and Security Act with a vote of 219 to 212. The bill now heads to the Senate. Democrats are calling it historic legislation. Republicans are calling it a boondoggle. Congressman Doggett's Washington phone number is currently busy. We'll try later to see how the congressman voted.
Editor's Note: The RoundUp contacted the office of Congressman Lloyd Doggett, our U. S. rep in Washington D.C., 25th District, for a quick check on his position on the bill referred to in the editorial below. Debate over the bill was under way on the floor of the House of Representatives when we called. We were informed by Mr. Doggett's press secretary Sarah Dohl that the congressman had not yet decided whether he would be voting yea or nay.
Here's a short excerpt from a speech Congressman Doggett delivered earlier today on the House floor which strongly hints where he might finally go with his vote: “This energy bill’s fine print betrays its laudable purpose. The real cap is on the public interest and the trade is the billions from the public to polluters. It is too weak to greatly spur new technologies and green jobs. An Administration analysis shows that doing nothing actually results in more new renewable electricity generation capacity than approving this bill . . ."
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READ THE ENTIRE EDITORIAL HERE
Published: June 25, 2009
American politicians, from both parties, insist that they want to combat global warming and reduce this country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Members of the House will soon have a chance to show they mean it. Voters should watch carefully to see what they do.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act would, for the first time, put a price on carbon emissions. The bill has shortcomings. But we believe that it is an important beginning to the urgent task of averting the worst damage from climate change. Approval would show that the United States is ready to lead and would pressure other countries to follow. Rejection could mean more wasted years and more damage to the planet.
The outcome depends on perhaps 30 Democrats who fear higher energy costs for businesses and consumers, and a dozen or so Republican moderates who also worry about costs and who have been pressed by their leadership not to give President Obama a victory.
We urge all to examine several recent studies showing the costs of the legislation to be minimal. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects average costs of $175 a year per American household by 2020 — vastly lower than the $3,000-plus figure bandied about by Republican leaders. We also urge them to read the scientific analysis forecasting the catastrophic costs to the planet, this country’s security and its economy if global warming is left unchecked.
The centerpiece of the legislation is a provision that aims to cut America’s production of greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by midcentury — the minimum reductions scientists say are necessary to avert the worst consequences of climate change.
Its mechanism for doing so is a cap-and-trade system that would place a steadily declining ceiling on emissions while allowing emitters to trade permits, or allowances, to give them flexibility in meeting their targets. The point is to raise the cost of older, dirtier fuels while steering investments to cleaner ones.
Posted by RoundUp Editor at 2:08 PM