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A Coal Subsidy Act?

May 21st, 2009 · 6 Comments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee looks poised to vote on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act later today. As this bill has developed, from an already compromised draft bill through massive compromising to reach a bill submission to committee markups, it has reached the point as to whether it is more appropriately called the “Assuring Coal Energy Subsidies” Act.

This bill has moved away from core climate legislation principles. Rather than auctioning off all permits, as candidate Obama promised and President Obama put into the submitted budget, some 85 percent of permits will be given away. Taking a look at preliminary analysis (updated 20 May 09), these can be broken into these major categories:

  • 25 percent directly to fossil-fuel companies and energy-intensive industries. (13% for energy-intensive trade-exposed industries, 5% for the fantasy of clean-coal, 5 percent for coal-plant operators, and 2 percent for oil refineries). This is direct subsidy for the continued use and burning of polluting energy.
  • 52 percent indirect subsidies to the burning of fossil fuels through buffering commercial and residential customers from any cost increases due to carbon pricing (30 percent), providing funds to natural gas companies  (6%), low-income rebates due to rising energy costs (15%), home-heating oil rebates (1 percent).
  • 13 percent to energy efficiency and renewable energy including clean tech R&D (1.5%), deployment (5.5%), electric vehicles (1%), state and local energy efficiency (4%), and subsidizing international clean energy (1%)
  • Other including reducing tropical deforestration (5 percent), international adaptation (1%), deficit reduction (2%),  green jobs and transition training/assistance (.5%), domestic adaptation (2%))

Let us summarize, this is 77 percent for subsidizing directly and indirectly the burning of polluting fossil fuels and 13 percent for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

According to analysis by Point Carbon, the first category is valued at $314 billion for 2012-2030, the second at $747 billion, the third at $127.4 billion.  Thus, their fiscal estimate is $1 trillion 61 billion dollars in direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels against $127.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Can anyone logically explain how this continues to merit “Clean Energy” in the title?

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Tags: Energy · politics

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