Energy and Global Warming News for May 14th: Joe ˜get shade Barton and House GOP plan to fiddle furiously while planet burns

GOP plans climate bill stall in committee

The conservative stagnation is planning to spread its do-nothing mentality in next week’s Energy and Commerce Committee markup of Waxman/Markey. The Republican ring-leader in this effort is know-nothing climate denier Rep. Joe humans should just ‘get shade’ Barton, who had this to say:

I don’t have to pass a bill. But I believe I’ve got a better chance of preventing a bad bill from getting passed than he has the chance of passing the bill he wants to pass.

That’s the spirit! At least Barton is showing his and his party’s true colors. For Republicans, it seems that no ideas and no action trumps actual thinking and doing. Their stagnation will almost certainly make them a permanent minority (see here), and if they succeed in stalling climate legislation, they could badly damage our chances for salvaging a livable planet.

E&E Daily (subs. req’d) reports, “Barton would not rule out forcing Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to read aloud the entire bill, which in draft form numbered nearly 650 pages.” …  During Senate debate over a cap-and-trade bill last summer, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) forced clerks to read the entire measure, stalling Senate business for at least 8 hours.

Delay, delay, delay.  Modern conservatives [Note to self:  That is an oxymoron] would make Nero proud.

Here’s the whole story from Politico, rich with Barton’s candid quotes:

Republicans know they can’t stop Henry Waxman’s ambitious climate change bill from clearing the Energy and Commerce Committee, but they’re promising to make the ride as bumpy as possible.

They plan to nitpick the Waxman bill into legislative oblivion by introducing more than 100 amendments during the committee debate. Some of those, they hope, will lure Democrats worried about the impact of energy proposals on hometown industries.

“This is not going to be one of gentlemanly, pro forma markups,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the top Republican on the committee. “We’re prepared for it to take weeks or months.”

Waxman has spent weeks convincing Southern and Midwestern Democrats to support his legislation, trying to cut deals that enable them to vote for the legislation while still satisfying constituents back home. On Tuesday, he predicted that legislation would pass the 59-member committee by the Memorial Day recess even without any Republican votes.

But Barton says his game plan is ready to go. He walked into a Tuesday night meeting of Democrats with fighting words, announcing that “we are ready when you are.”

“I don’t have to pass a bill,” said Barton. “But I believe I’ve got a better chance of preventing a bad bill from getting passed than he has the chance of passing the bill he wants to pass.”

On Thursday, Republicans will announce their own alternative legislation “” a bill that they expect will be swiftly voted down by the committee in next week’s markup. After that, they say, will come the dozens of amendments.

“We’ll give the swing Democrats lots of opportunity to make positive changes to the bill, and we’ll see whether they’ll comply or not,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the ranking member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee. “We’ve got a lot of constructive amendments to fix the obvious flaws.”

Republicans say they’ll give Democrats a chance to vote for increasing energy production and domestic drilling and will introduce proposals on nuclear power “” tempting to some Southerners who wanted to see it included in the bill.

“We’re trying to appeal to everybody that’s from the energy states,” said Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas). “We’re trying to get them to vote pro-energy rather than what the leadership tells them to vote.”

Waxman bill would give auto industry free emissions allowances through 2025

House Democrats agreed yesterday to give the battered automotive industry a small percentage of valuable greenhouse gas emissions allowances under their proposed cap-and-trade system in exchange for increased production of electric and advanced vehicles.

The deal would give the industry 3 percent of the allowances from 2012 through 2017. The allowances would then drop to 1 percent from 2018 through 2025, at which point they would be phased out entirely.

“The agreement on allowance values will spur more innovations and new, green job creation here at home,” Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said in a statement. “This is a significant achievement for the automotive industry and its workers, as the bill will help fund research, development, implementation and deployment of new, low-carbon technologies and upgrading manufacturing facilities to provide the next generation of green vehicles right here in the United States.”

It was not immediately clear if the free allowances would serve as the sole incentive for the production of electric cars and other high-fuel economy vehicles, or if the industry would receive additional funding for advanced technology research and development. It was also not clear how the allowances would be distributed between carmakers and other parts of the industry.

A spokesman for the committee said lawmakers were still working out the specifics.

Three percent is less than the 5 percent of allowances the auto industry had originally called for, but the deal was nonetheless applauded by the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, an industry trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota Motor Co. and other automakers. “We’re pleased that the committee recognizes the importance of reinvesting in the industries responsible for making the emissions reductions,” alliance spokesman Charles Territo said in an e-mail.

FERC study will assess grid’s ability to handle renewables

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission launched a six-month study today to determine how much renewable energy the electric grid can accommodate.

FERC will work with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the $500,000 study to validate the preliminary frequency-response tool developed by the commission to gauge the grid’s reliability if large quantities of renewable energy are sent to the system.

“We need a good metric — a good yardstick, a tool — to assess how much renewable energy can be injected into the bulk power … system,” said Joseph McClelland, director of FERC’s Office of Electric Reliability.

A Sign of Maturity in Renewables? Disconnect From Oil Prices

If an oil pipeline breaks, oil prices might reasonably be expected to rise “” but that shouldn’t have an impact on solar shares.

History, however, has shown that it does. Indeed, generally speaking, when oil prices go up, nine times out of 10, clean-energy shares rise too, according to data from Bloomberg. It’s a long-standing correlation that has been something of a curiosity to analysts, given that there is little real-world connection between most renewables and oil.

Climate Change Could Displace Millions In Asia’s Coral Triangle

Coral reefs could disappear entirely from the Coral Triangle region of the Pacific Ocean by the end of the century, threatening the food supply and livelihoods for about 100 million people, according to a new study from World Wildlife Fund.

Kremlin says energy disputes could lead to violence

Battles for limited energy resources will shape international relations and could bring war to Russia’s borders, a Kremlin policy paper says.

The world “will be focused on getting hold of energy sources, including in the Middle East, the Barents Sea shelf and other Arctic regions, the Caspian and Central Asia,” said the paper, which outlined the nation’s energy strategy through 2020.

The mention of mineral resources in the Arctic seabed comes as the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia jockey for jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic. Shrinking sea ice has opening shipping lanes and new resource development opportunities.

“Amid the competitive struggle for resources, attempts to use military force to solve emerging problems cannot be ruled out,” the paper read. “The existing balance of forces near the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies can be violated.”

Biggest Solar Deal Signed “¦ Again

Pacific Gas & Electric, a California utility, announced Wednesday that it had agreed to purchase 1,310 megawatts of solar thermal power “” enough to power 530,000 homes.

BrightSource Energy will provide the technology “” which consists of mirrors that use the sunlight to heat water and spin turbines “” and plans to build facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Compiled by Max Luken and Carlin Rosengarten

7 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for May 14th: Joe ˜get shade Barton and House GOP plan to fiddle furiously while planet burns

  1. paulm says:

    Any see the entertain piece last month…

    How to survive the coming century

  2. paulm says:

    >>if they succeed in stalling climate legislation, they could badly damage our chances for salvaging a livable planet.

    On the contrary, it might speed things up as this form of action (which is more of a distraction) is side stepped for more direct action.

    [JR: Not. What is more direct action than the biggest polluter passing a law that requires it to essentially eliminate virtually all carbon pollution in four decades? Seriously, people this is staggeringly momentous legislation, not just for what it would do here at home, but because without it, there is no possibility whatsoever of getting the rest of the key nations of the world, including China, to act.]

  3. Leland Palmer says:

    Waxman/Markey close to passage is good news, so long as it is written in such a way that it does not interfere with necessary actions by the EPA, by Congress, or by the President acting in a state of emergency in the future.

    It’s a shame that the sort of open bribery and corruption that apparently motivates Barton is not illegal.

    We should not hold out for a perfect bill, we should support Waxman/Markey, IMO.

    But we should immediately move to strengthen it, bolster it with EPA actions, and I believe we should simply seize the coal plants by eminent domain and transform them.

    The coal and coal power industries have abused their coal power rights, and should have those ownership rights revoked.

    Regardless of coal industry propaganda, astroturf propaganda, and industry supported think tank propaganda, it is possible and economical to seize the coal plants and convert them to biocarbon fuel, oxyfuel combustion, a HiPPS topping cycle, and carbon capture and storage.

    This carbon negative strategy could be our “heavy armor” in the fight against global warming, due to the hugely synergistic effects of displacing fossil fuels, generating useful electricity, reducing methane production from decaying trash and manure, fire protecting forests from wildfires, and transferring carbon from the atmosphere to the ground – all with a single solution.

    WM should hugely reward such carbon negative strategies, and count all of the synergistic effects of carbon negative power production. If this bill does not do that, the compromise bill with the Senate should do that.

  4. Leland Palmer says:

    Oh, that’s good news about the solar energy deal with PG&E. Wonderful news!

  5. Rick Covert says:

    Here’s why the coal industry can not have anything but a zero tolerance policy towards Waxman Markey. With costs of new coal plants rising 130% over the last 8 years they can’t afford any additional costs. While it is true this article is almost a year old pre near-depression era this state of affairs won’t last for long as the economy recovers.

  6. paulm says:

    >>The coal and coal power industries have abused their coal power rights, and should have those ownership rights revoked.

    Regardless of this, I think we are at a stage where conditions necessitate that coal plants have to be closed down or converted.

    It wont be long before others realize that this will have to be the case. This situation is an emergency and requires immediate action.

  7. Jim Beacon says:

    Rep. Joe “Y’all just find some shade” Barton and his fellow ostriches, including his coal-industry bosses, will soon be waking up to the fact that the cost of building any new coal-fired power plants just skyrocketed with the official EPA decision to label CO2 as harzadous to pubic health. Now any local group opposing the construction of a new plant in their region can bring really heavy-duty Federal lawsuits to block the construction on public-health grounds. And many of them will win as public opposition continues to grow as the air continues to get warmer every year. Even those lawsuits which are lost in the end will result in dramatically increasing what a local utiilty company has to pay up front in the form of litigation fees and costly delays through endless rounds of court appeals to get a new coal plant built.

    On the coal supply side, the newly-revitalized EPA will be issuing fewer and fewer permits to rip the tops off of mountains in West Virgina to get more coal and so the price of running both new and existing coal-fired plants will continue to climb. There is no such thing a “clean coal” and soon there will be no such thing as “cheap coal” either. Finally.