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What’s in a name? That which we call “Kerry-Boxer,” by any other name would …

By Joe Romm on October 1, 2009 at 9:47 am

"What’s in a name? That which we call “Kerry-Boxer,” by any other name would …"

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Okay, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act ain’t Shakespeare — and it ain’t perfect.

Whats in a name

Still, there is much confusion about its name.   I heard it straight from the primary sponsors themselves that it is “Kerry-Boxer” and not the other way around.  The House bill is Waxman-Markey, and it would be inappropriate (and confusing) to call it Markey-Waxman.

It may not seem like a big deal, but this minor brouhaha actually made it into E&E News PM (subs. req’d) last night with a Shakespearean sub-head:

What’s in a name?

Many observers in the climate debate were caught off-guard by the fact that Kerry is now listed as the lead sponsor on the bill, rather than Boxer.

Boxer explained that she had always planned it that way.

“This bill has been Kerry-Boxer from day one, from the first day that we’ve ever started to get together,” she said.

The California Democrat cited last year’s Senate debate on a climate bill that had both Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) listed as original co-sponsors.

“I’m not an egotist when it comes to my name on a bill,” Boxer said. “The important thing is to get it done. And by the way, it’s going to be a Reid bill on the floor.”

Cardin said he, too, had long expected Kerry to be the lead sponsor. “What was presented today wasn’t the committee bill,” he said. “It was a bill from the two leading architects of the global climate change energy bill. That’s how we see it. We see both as the leading figures in the U.S. Senate on this issue.”

’nuff said.

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11 Responses to What’s in a name? That which we call “Kerry-Boxer,” by any other name would …

  1. paulm says:

    Whats in a name… the truth is out, what we need is a ‘Planned recession’.

    [JR: I'm snipping the rest of this. It's just too inane to be posted here.]

  2. paulm says:

    Geeze Joe! It was in the telegraph!

  3. paulm says:

    Whats in a tune…great video.

    Climate song: The Beds Are Burning but where’s Chris Martin?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/sep/29/beds-are-burning-climate-change

    The low-star wattage means this charity single is unlikely to become the rallying anthem for the climate-conscious generation

  4. Ted Getzel says:

    Paulm I must assume you are a typical trust fund green or occupy an obscure sinecure in some parasitic bureaucracy for you to post what you did. The 9.7% of Americans currently unemployed and the millions more under employed would find your ideologically driven drivel abhorrent. In my home state of Maryland we have had several horrible incidents of suicide murder of entire families because of financial and psychological stress caused by the recession. I am sure these tragedies are not limited to Maryland alone. Where is your empathy?

  5. Lennart van der Linde says:

    So, let’s put the question this way: is prominent climatologist Kevin Anderson right to talk of the need for a ‘planned recession’? If so, why? If not, why not? Here’s the article in the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6248257/Planned-recession-could-avoid-catastrophic-climate-change.html

    And here’s where his presentation should soon appear:
    http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php

    My guess: he’s right, because when or if the current (first) generation of climate laws will be enacted, the science shows that very soon, within a few years, they’ll need to be strengthened big time. So we already need to speak of that now, at the approriate places, even if people are afraid this will reduce the chances the Kerry-Boxer proposal will be passed. Is this blog an appropriate place? I would think so, but I’m not sure what Joe thinks.

    [JR: I think this is idiotic. What we need is a WWII-scale effort to deploy every last existing bit of clean energy technology (while investing to develop even more technology). That'd be an economic boom, create millions of clean energy jobs, slash our unsustainable trade deficit, and so on.]

  6. Greg Robie says:

    The Acronym of the Act’s name (CE JAP) uses a term the dwindling WWII crowd will have feelings about . . . and probably not good ones. Is this an example of taking your advice, Joe, the opposite way that you recommend? Kerry, a boxer?!? Didn’t he get photographed in some liberal-colored bathing trunks during his run for President? And anyway, the idea that a liberal would fight is a bit of an oxymoron.

    Attempt at humor aside, this bill, as a climate change bill, needs no name for what it names is inadequate to the science of climate modeling. I do not know what Joe “snipped” but, Ted, we haven’t even begun to experience the social chaos that will result from the government’s attempt to flash freeze the economic collapse by bailing out Wall Street. This week you have the FDIC proposing to pre-charge member banks (and they have a few more since the government stuck a bunch of the yahoo investment banks under its skirts last year—and without requiring these to get their leverage ratios down to FDIC standards first) through 2012 just to keep from going insolvent this year. The, I think, $35 billion this represents will raise the FDIC account balance to $45 billion (current balance after 90 plus bank failures so far this year is ~$10 billion, and, as a reference, in 2007, at the start of the collapse, the FDIC’s account was ~$50 billion). Listening to my congressperson speak last weekend, he echoed the President in saying—in so-many-words—that the abyss the economy was on before TARP looked like a black hole. All that has changed since then is that we are doing the accounting differently so that the bank failures happen at a less uncontrolled rate and monetizing debt. This FDIC pre-collection of its fees is more of the flash freezing efforts. The most all this can be expected to do is buy time.

    A planned “recession” is a proposal—and looking quickly at the Telegraph article—one that has merit. Unplanned recessions start with people jumping out of windows, followed by familicide, and then all out civil chaos (without much probability it will be of the non-violent type). My moral values require all efforts be made to effect choices and discussion that allow for non-violent collapses. This is why I have advocated for actoin on the four Constitutional crises I’ve referenced before, here in my comments at CP. A carbon-based currency is one of the solutions I advocate for. Such reboots the economic paradigm. But it does so intentionally, and with some possibility of the rebooting being non-violent.

    In any event, the historic cycle of an economic bubble has a beginning and an end. We live at the end of a global one inflated by consumer debt. This bubble became unmanageable due to unregulated fractional reserve banking. Remember, all investment schemes have risk. By law financial salespersons are required to note that past performance is not guarantee of future results. And that is true. Laugh, cry, get angry, such are choices of how to feel. But what to _do_ as a result of trusting a bubble economy—a ponzi scheme—is a separate matter.

    Where we are, economically, socially, and environmentally, needs both a name and an answer. Personally. I like the idea of a planned collapse. It is an honest approach to the macro economic condition we find ourselves in. It is justice being realized. If you believe in the postage-stamp-a-day assessment of a ACES/CEJAP-based “salvation,” then such is a much more comforting option than a planned end to global capitalism’s (by-invitation-only) party. Regardless of which of these solution to our economic, social, and environmental crises may be right, an alternative to either is unplanned chaos and our worst nightmares made manifest. I do not want my society to wake up in that reality, should it wake up; when it wakes up. In my experience, the more different ways we talk about the elephant, the better our chance of knowing what the beat is like; what to name it.

    The Acronym of the Act’s name (CE JAP) uses a term the dwindling WWII crowd will have feelings about . . . and probably not good ones. An example of taking your advice, Joe, the opposite way that you recommend, right? Kerry, a boxer?!?, didn’t he get photographed in some liberal colored bathing trunks during his run for President? And anyway, the idea that a liberal would fight is a bit of an oxymoron.

    Attempt at humor aside, this bill, as a climate change bill, needs no name for what it names is inadequate to the science. I do not know what Joe “snipped” but Ted, we haven’t even begun to experience the social chaos that will result from the government’s attempt to flash freeze the economic collapse by bailing out Wall Street. This week you have the FDIC proposing to pre-charge member banks (and they have a few more since the government stuck a bunch of yahoo investment banks under its skirts last year—and without requiring these to get their leverage ratios down to FDIC standards first) through 2012 just to keep from going insolvent this year. The, I think, $35 billion this represents will raise the FDIC account balance to $45 billion (current balance after 90 plus bank failures so far this year is ~$10 billion, and, as a reference, in 2007 at the start of the collapse the FDIC’s account was ~$50 billion). Listening to my congressperson speak last weekend, he echoed the President in saying—in so-many-words—that the abyss the economy was on before TARP looked like a black hole. All that has changed since then is that we are doing the accounting differently so that the bank failures happen at a less uncontrolled rate and monetizing debt. This FDIC pre-collection its fees is more of the flash freezing efforts. The most they can be expected to do is buy time.

    A planned “recession” is a proposal—and looking quickly at the Telegraph article one—that has merit. Unplanned recessions start with people jumping out of windows, followed by familicide, and then all out civil chaos (without much probability it will be the non-violent type). My moral values require all efforts be made to effect choices and discussion that allow for non-violent collapses. This is why I have advocated for actoin on the four Constitutional crises I’ve referenced here before. A carbon-based currency is one of the solutions I’ve proposed. Such reboots the economic paradigm, but does so intentionally, with some possibility of the rebooting being non-violent.

    In any event, the historic cycle of an economic bubble has a beginning and an end. We live at the end of a global one inflated by consumer debt that became unmanageable due to unregulated fractional reserve banking. Remember, all investment schemes have risk. By law financial salespersons are required to note that past performance is not guarantee for future results. And that was true. Laugh, cry,, get angry, such are choices of how to feel, but what to do as a result of trusting a bubble economy—a ponzi scheme—is a separate matter.

    Where we are economically, socially, and environmentally needs both a name and a answer. Personally. I like the idea of a planned collapse. It is an honest approach to the macro economic condition we find ourselves in. It is justice being realized. If you believe in the postage-stamp-a-day assessment of the ACES/CEJAP-based “salvation,” then such is a much more comforting option than a planned end to global capitalism’s (by-invitation-only) party. Regardless of which of these solution to our economic, social, and environmental crises may be right, an alternative to either is unplanned chaos and our worst nightmares made manifest. I do not want my society to wake up in that reality should it wake up; when it wakes up. The more different ways we talk about the elephant the better our chance of knowing what the beat is l like; what to name it.

    What say you?

  7. Greg Robie says:

    Help Joe, do you “snipping” magic and eliminate paragraphs 6-10 of the previous comment. I messed up in my copy and pasting. Thanks! =)

  8. Lennart van der Linde says:

    Joe, I wish you’re right, but am not convinced. Look what Hansen, Crutzen, Schellnhuber and others have to say about planetary boundaries:
    http://www.stockholmresilience.org/planetary-boundaries

    This seems to me quite like an update of Limits to Growth by Meadows e.a. for the Club of Rome (who will gather in Amsterdam by the end of this month, including Hansen, Schellnhuber, but also Gorbatsjov). So I suspect we will need something like the Steady-State Economy that Herman Daly has been talking about since many years. The same Steady-State Economy that J.S. Mill was already thinking about in his days (and who was quoted right at the beginning of Limits to Growth). Kevin Anderson says, as I read him, that in the West we don’t need more airports, so that in the South some more airports can still be build. Also think of Heat by George Monbiot, who makes the same argument, basically. I don’t know how this can be sold to the public in general, but if we don’t succeed in selling this, than complete ecosystem collapse, including the economic system, seems more likely than not.

    So a planned retreat back within the limits of our ecosystem seems wiser than risking unplanned collapse, also keeping Jared Diamond in mind, and of course the Footprint of Matthis Wackernagel. This seems to me the debate we need to have now. The longer we postpone this debate, the higher the risk of collapse. Talking about a WW-II kind of effort, like Lester Brown, seems right, for this will be the war we need to fight to save civilization. If you really think all of the above is ‘idiotic’, then I hope you can explain why. If I’ve read Thomas Friedman correctly, than deep down even he doesn’t exclude the possibility that this line of thinking would rather be wise than foolish.

    [JR: I really, really, really don't like commenters who misquote me and/or use reductio ad absurdum to attack a strawman. I'll ignore it for now, since you seem well-meaning, but you are officially on probation. I said one specific notion was idiotic. It is. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you are a regular reader of this blog, then know precisely what I believe. If not, then please read some of the blog posts on the right hand column before posting such a comment.]

  9. David B. Benson says:

    Various commenters on other blogs have pointed out that Kerry-Boxer contians some seriously bad BAU with regard to forest management and carbon credits therefore.

    I’m not well enough qualified to judge.

  10. Lennart van der Linde says:

    Joe, I do read your blog regularly, but maybe not always carefully enough. I think it’s one of the best climate-blogs out there and I thank you for your great work, seriously. It seems it was just not clear to me what exactly you called “idiotic”. It still isn’t. You said: “I think this is idiotic”. But what is “this” exactly? Kevin Anderson speaks of “planned recession” (in the West). You speak of “economic boom” (also in the West, if I understand correctly). It seems to me Anderson is implying some sort of steady-state economy. It seems you are not, but if I’m wrong, so much the better. I’ve read many of your posts, and they’re great, but something like a ‘steady-state economy’ is not at the top of your topic-list, it seems. If it is, I’ve missed it so far and I apologize. If not, then my question is: why not? I’m just sincerely interested in your view on the work of people like Herman Daly and Dennis Meadows on the one hand and people like Nicholas Stern and Nordhaus on the other. To me there seems to be a difference between ‘growth’ thinkers and ‘steady-state’ thinkers. I think the latter have an important point, but maybe there’s some strong argument against them. What do you think?

    [JR: You asked me what I thought of “planned recession” and I said "idiotic." Now “planned recession” isn't "steady-state" and frankly it is very hard to debate terms of that are not well defined in either case. I do not believe in growth for growth's sake which a wise man once defined as the philosophy of a cancer cell. And I have made pretty clear that I don't think GDP is a terribly useful measure. But I think I have made abundantly clear that the kind of aggressive clean energy strategy needed to solve the problem is consistent with sustainable development. It will entail far greater efficiency and conservation, though, but again, I view that as consistent with sustainable development]

  11. Lennart van der Linde says:

    Ok, I agree we need better definitions of ‘planned recession’, ‘economic boom’ and ‘steady-state’. I think Bill McKibben points in the right direction in this fresh article:

    http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2195

    I would be very interested in reading a more elaborate post on this line of work of Meadows, Daly, Wackernagel and Rockstrom and others. I think a global steady-state economy will only be possible if the West consumes less than it does now. And preventing climate catastrophe may depend on a quick end to continuing consumption growth here in the West (I live in the Netherlands myself). I think that was Anderson’s point in arguing for 70% emissions reduction by 2020.