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Carpe Diem: Waxman-Markey a Start, But More Opportunities to Seize

March 31st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Representatives and Chairmen Ed Markey and Henry Waxman released the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) as a discussion draft yesterday.  Speaking in a bloggers’ call on the bill,  Speaker Nancy Pelosi emphasized that acting on climate change is her “flagship issue” and that this is justified not just on national security, health and economic concerns, but in terms of the “moral issue to preserve God’s creation”.

Not surprisingly, even if they have to lie about it, the Global Warming deniers and fossil fools have a very simple, disciplined, and false message: tax and cost when it fact this truly an issue of jobs, benefits, and opportunities. By seeking to distort the situation beyond belief, it drives one to ask the question:

“Why do conservatives hate our children?

As Speaker Pelosi puts it, “the agents of the status quo will try to hold us in place”. When hearing talking points about why we can’t act on global warming or for a need to weaken legislation, it is worth pondering Speaker Pelosi’s words: “We need to understand whether someone voicing concerns is discussing a reason or an excuse.” There are people, people who are going to demand a voice in this bill, who aer simply not going to vote to reduce US emissions basically no matter what.  They will have seemingly reasonable “excuses”, that they will seek to call “reasons”. And, they will have truthiness (lies) that they will not cower from repeating, time after time.
Sadly, it seems that this bill has sought to accommodate the “concerns” of at least some who search for excuses, rather than coming to the table with reasons.

This is appropriately described as a centrist bill, seeking to satisfy as large a constituency (and as many constituencies) as possible. Joe Romm gave it a B+ on first impression: an A in energy arena and B- in the climate arena.   Also on first impression, this seems to be grading on a curve.

The bill (some material/links after the fold) has a reasonable target for a 25 percent nationwide renewable energy standard (RES) by 2025 and increasing targets/paths for energy efficiency. (Although, as per most of the time, the 25% by 2025 has a heavy energy efficiency option.)  These are the sort of measures that will create a lot of jobs, improve US competitiveness and security, save households and businesses money, and, oh by the way, help save the planet’s habitability for humanity. Some good material, first glance in the B+ realm.

When it comes to the “climate” part, however, it seems that Representatives Markey and Waxman have made the compromises before the bill was even introduced: even though there will be major efforts to weaken the bill when, if anything, it requires significant strengthening. There are allowances given away, too many offsets, inadequate targets for reductions, … This looks, again on first glance, as a solid C (when considering the lead authors). We can hope that this is not a final grade. In many ways, the title of Greenpeace’s release captures the core point: Waxman-Markey Draft a Good First Step, but Improvements Needed.

Sadly, again, does anyone expect the core House effort and discussions in the Senate focused on strengthening the bill to deal better with global warming and be even more powerful in job creation? Or, will the battle come from fossil fools seeking to derail and otherwise disrupt action on Global Warming? The draft, again on first glance, does not seem to do what is necessary.

Due to lies, lies, lies coming from opponents of action and shifting polling, some see it as impossible to introduce a bill that would do what is necessary. Anothe perspective;

Why not introduce a bill that

  • Meets scientific guidance,
  • would enable the necessary changes,
  • would maximize the economic and jobs opportunities?

And then force “opposition” to fight against what is necessary rather than compromising away many necessary elements before the bill is even introduced?

Why not …

Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

Today, Chairman Henry Waxman and Chairman Ed Markey introduced comprehensive legislation to meet our economic, energy and climate crisis. Their solution –create Clean Energy Jobs here in America.

The legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), was released as a discussion draft today. ACES is a comprehensive clean energy, efficiency and climate plan that will create millions of new clean energy jobsjobs that can’t be shipped over seas. It invests in efficiency to save consumers and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, and it will finally end decades of addiction to foreign oil.

To meet these goals, the legislation has four titles:

a) The Renewable Electricity Standard will create nearly 300,000 new jobs.

b) The Energy Efficiency Resource Standard will create 222,000 new jobs by 2020.

a) The Renewable Electricity Standard alone will result in nearly $100 billion in savings for consumers and businesses by 2030.

b) The Energy Efficiency Resource Standard alone will result in nearly $170 billion in utility bill savings by 2020.

Creating Clean Energy Jobs: A clean energy title that promotes renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission;

Cutting Waste, Saving Money: An energy efficiency title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry;

Cap Global Warming Pollution: A global warming title that places limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants. This system ensures that polluters pay while clean companies prosper. ACES uses the same bi-partisan approach put in place to fight acid rain in 1990 (supported by the first President Bush) –after which electricity rates fell 10 percent and the U.S. economy added 16 million new jobs.

Protecting Consumers: A transitioning title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

For the discussion draft summary, please CLICK HERE. For the full text of the discussion draft, please CLICK HERE.

Markey and Waxman, strong progressives, have been working to build consensus with other Democrats – including Dingell and Boucher who co-signed this letter on energy legislation. Here are some additional supportive statements and coverage:

Speaker Pelosi statement

Hoyer statement

What Others are Saying (Enviro groups, Gov. Schwarzenegger, Business Groups)

Some blog coverage:

Wonk Room: House Energy Leaders Unveil Green Economy Legislatio

AmericaBlog – House Democrats begin push for comprehensive energy legislation Carl Pope on Huffington Post – Start Your Engines Frances Beinecke on Huffington Post – Waxman and Markey Jumpstart House Clean Energy Discussion TPMdc: Pelosi: Climate Legislation by July (We Hope) Climate Progress: First impression of Waxman-Marke Grist: House Dems say they’re coming together around climate and energy legislation Ryan Grim/Huffington Post: Pelosi Wants Climate Change Bill In 6 Months, With Or Without GO Natasha Chart, “Moral Issue to Protect God’s Creation”

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Tags: ed markey · environmental · government energy policy

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Core Principles in Face of Warming World // Apr 1, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    […] ← Carpe Diem: Waxman-Markey a Start, But More Opportunities to Seize […]

  • 2 Climate Warriors Wearing Green on the Hill // Apr 24, 2009 at 11:26 am

    […] fight many battles. This week, amid a week of House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security […]

  • 3 Time for the Bully Pupit // May 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    […] introduced, ACES was a good start that required strengthening. As it has gone through the negotiating process within the House Energy & Commerce Committee, […]