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American Power Act to create millions of clean energy jobs, slash pollution and oil use, while boosting U.S. farmers and manufacturers

By Joe Romm  

"American Power Act to create millions of clean energy jobs, slash pollution and oil use, while boosting U.S. farmers and manufacturers"

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Bill “eliminates the possibility of market manipulation” and “from day one, two-thirds of revenues not dedicated to reducing our deficit are rebated back to consumers”

Kerry and Lieberman have apparently been waiting for a sign from above to release their climate and clean energy jobs bill, the American Power Act.  Instead, the unmistakable message that we need to get off of dirty, unsafe fossil fuels came from an undersea volcano of oil unleashed by the hubris, recklessness, and arrogance of Big Oil.

You can read the leaked 21-page draft Section-by-Section description of the American Power Act here (big PDF).  You can read the leaked 4-page “draft short summary” by clicking here.

Before offering my thoughts on individual sections, here’s Dan Weiss, CAPAF’s Director of Climate Strategy:

“The Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act jump starts efforts to adopt comprehensive clean energy and climate polices that would cut oil use, increase security, reduce pollution and create jobs.  The BP oil disaster is like a signal flare warning us that we must reduce our oil use via investments in more efficient, cleaner energy technologies.  President Obama and Senate leaders must work together to craft a comprehensive program that achieves these goals.”

Many analysis have shown how clean energy legislation will create 1.7 million jobs and opportunities for low-income families, including lower energy bills.

So let’s go through this, starting with the summary.

“From day one, two-thirds of revenues not dedicated to reducing our deficit are rebated back to consumers.”  The rest goes to low-carbon energy development and deployment along with things to aid industries in transition to a low carbon economy.

In the later years, every penny not spent to reduce the deficit will go directly back to consumers.

You might call it cap-and-dividend, were the name not taken.

Yes, much of this money goes back to consumers through the local regulated utilities, but that was not only inevitable from a political perspective — to keep utilities and Senators from the mid-west and south from immediately bolting — it’s actually a good idea from the perspective of regional equity (see here and here).  There’s just no other way to construct a bill that could have any chance whatsoever in either house of Congress.

The auctioning is done along the lines I suggested here:  How the Senate can fix cost containment in the climate bill with ‘price collar plus’.  The floor price starts at $12 in 2013 and rises 3% plus inflation each year.  The ceiling starts at $25 increasing 5% plus inflation annually.

The bad news is that, after the regular allowances are auctioned off — and then after the strategic reserve is auctioned off (explained here) — the hard ceiling is maintained by providing unlimited new allowances.  The “good news” is that I can’t see us getting near the ceiling price until well into the 2020s since  the emissions targets are so weak compared to where we are today — EIA Stunner: Energy-related CO2 emissions are now down nearly 10% from 2005 levels — and since there are so many low-cost clean energy strategies available, many of which are directly incentivized by this bill (see “Game changer part 2: Unconventional gas makes the 2020 target of a 17% reduction so damn easy and cheap to meet).”

I will do a post soon on why these floor and ceiling prices are sufficient to drive significant clean energy into the marketplace, including fuel switching from coal to natural gas.

Yes, there are still 2 billion offsets, but they won’t vitiate the 2020 target because, again, it’s too easy to meet with efficiency, conservation, renewables, and natural gas fuel switching.  Large quantities of offsets aren’t gonna be cheaper those solutions.  As I wrote here, I doubt offsets will comprise even 3% out of the 17% target achieved by emitters in 2020.  And yes, I would take a bet on that.  The oversight provision seems pretty solid to me.

Moreover, I expect most of the offsets sold will be domestic ones — if we get an international deal (which is really only possible if we can pass a climate bill), then I expect international offsets will be fairly pricey by 2020.  And CBO said half of the domestic offsets are actual emission reductions in uncovered sectors.

The domestic offsets do represent the opportunity for some real income by farmers.  Indeed, as this recent CP post explained, the bill creates “3 new paychecks for farmers”:

  1. A pay check for leasing a small portion of land for sustainable energy development like putting in a wind turbine that can earn them $3,000 to $15,000 per year
  2. A paycheck for sequestering carbon in their soils by engaging in more sustainable and productive farming practices, and
  3. A paycheck for producing 2nd generation biofuel crops.

The bill has restrictions on new drilling as my earlier post today explained.  The Politico has a similar piece out, “Energy bill limits drilling expansion.”

The bill does set aside a considerable amount of allowances to improve energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.

The bill starts with capping the utility sector in 2013.

Industrial sources will not enter the program until 2016….  In 2016, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries receive allowances to upset both their direct and indirect compliance costs. This assistance will be distributed in a way that rewards efficiency investment and make their manufacturing facilities more competitive.

There are provisions to encourage the use of natural gas, reduce transportation emissions, and fund clean energy R&D and demonstration.

There are a number of provisions to block market manipulation.  Now, there really wasn’t much possibility of market manipulation even in the House bill — see “When Sen. Dorgan finds out what’s in the climate bill “” hint, hint, White House “” he might just support it.”  It simply is very hard to corner the market and run up the price on a commodity that is highly fungible, like CO2 allowances, since in place of allowance you can reduce your energy use through efficiency, reduce your emissions through low carbon energy, fuel switch, buy a domestic offset, or buy an international offset.  Now that the bill limits participation in the auctions and has a hard ceiling, the prospects that the market could be seriously manipulated vanish entirely.

The bill creates “annual incentives of 2 billion per year for researching and developing effective carbon capture and sequestration methods and devices.”  It also provides “significant incentives for the commercial deployment of 72 GW of carbon capture and sequestration.”  Since I don’t expect we will see 72 GW of CCS until well past 2030, this isn’t going to cost taxpayers very much money (see Harvard study: “Realistic” first-generation CCS costs a whopping $150 per ton of CO2 “” 20 cents per kWh!).  And if somebody does figure out how to do CCS practically and affordably — preferably with biomass cofiring — all the better (see Is coal with carbon capture and storage a core climate solution?)

Finally, the bill does flush a fair amount of money down the toilet incentivizing nuclear power — one of the highest cost solutions (see “Intro to nuclear power“).  The bottom line is there might be enough subsidies and risk insurance to get 12 new nukes.  Then again, the possibility we were going to cut U.S. CO2 emissions 80% in four decades without building a dozen new was pretty small.  Get over it.

So does it meet the criteria in “What to look for in the bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill“?  That would require that the bill help ensure that by the 2020s that we have

  • substantially dropped below the business-as-usual emissions path
  • started every major business planning for much deeper reductions
  • goosed the cleantech venture and financing community
  • put in place the entire framework for U.S. climate regulations
  • accelerated many tens of gigawatts of different types of low-carbon energy into the marketplace
  • put billions into developing advanced low-carbon technology
  • started building out the smart, green grid of the 21st century
  • trained and created millions of clean energy jobs
  • negotiated a working international climate regime
  • brought China into the process

Yes, I think it does.

There really is no Plan B.  Certainly leaving this to the EPA and a few states won’t achieve most of those, especially the crucial international deal.

Sadly, the conventional wisdom is that even this moderate bill has no chance — and I certainly think it doesn’t have very much chance if Obama doesn’t start pushing for it as hard as he pushed for healthcare (see “Is Obama blowing his best chance to shift the debate from the dirty, unsafe energy of the 19th century to the clean, safe energy of the 21st century?“)

‹ I’ll be on MSNBC’s Countdown tonight

Leaked Overview Of Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act ›

31 Responses to American Power Act to create millions of clean energy jobs, slash pollution and oil use, while boosting U.S. farmers and manufacturers

  1. Rick Covert says:

    Well maybe just like he back tracked on his decision to drill off-shore, at least for 90 days or so, he’ll do a double-take on the climate bill and maybe this is flip-flopping we can believe in.

  2. Bob Maginnis says:

    I see the $54 billion giveaway for nukes is still alive. We need to spend $100 billion per year for efficiency over the next 10 years (about 10% of our war budget) if we are to make a serious reduction in CO2 emissions. No point in mandating what our children are going to do in 2030 or our grandchildren will do in 2050.

  3. Bill Waterhouse says:

    link to draft short summary was blank doc on my itouch

    [JR: You need a new mobile phone!]

  4. Raleigh Latham says:

    It’s a great start, lets make it happen this summer for the sake of everyone.

  5. Karen C says:

    This is a wonderful explanation. This really does seem to be an excellent first step in dealing with a problem we can’t ignore. I hope that Senator Kerry, President Obama and others can persuade 60 Senators to vote for it. It is obvious how much careful work was done in trying to balance the needs of various blocks of Senators. I understand why Senator Kerry has said it might be our last best chance on this.

  6. Jeff Hopkins says:

    Good points and a good product. Now we only need one of two things to happen…

    Either, attract a few Republicans to endorse this bill whose principles they actually support and a few Democrats to take their cue from the Republicans. Twenty additional Senators brought in from the fences in total ought to do it.

    - or -

    Get the White House out in front on the messaging.

    Anybody think the first way has a chance?

  7. mike roddy says:

    I have confidence in this because of one man: John Kerry, someone I was privileged to meet and talk to during my sojourn in DC a dozen years ago.

    Kerry is realistic, idealistic, committed, and courageous. He would have made a hell of a president.

  8. Chris Dudley says:

    Got to hand it to you Joe, you get the goods. I think we can agree that the opportunity cost involved with nuclear power means that it will be harder to meet emissions targets. Your wording seems a little contrary to that.

  9. Jim Edelson says:

    Here we have it. Congress is proposing to throw out a tool we know works on controlling pollution, the Clean Air Act, for a tenuous collection of subsidies for uneconomical nuclear and technologically non-existent green coal, collared credit prices with an unlimited safety valve, a demonstrably failed set of agricultural offsets, and 2020 targets that represent only marginal improvement over business as usual.

    On the other hand, there are real values to this bill – a target we can take to international negotiations, border adjustments, and some regulatory infrastructure that has the potential for really addressing the problem some day. But again, the infrastructure could just as easily be weakened.

    On the whole, this is a marginally useful bill that doesn’t do great damage, except for one provision.

    If there is one thing that needs to be stripped from this bill in order to start closing coal plants and to send real signals to industrial facilities, it is that we don’t throw away the Clean Air Act. If the CAA isn’t gutted, we can afford to take the chance on the scheme coming out of this Congress. But we cannot afford to throw away the tool we know that works.

    And take not my word, but take Katie McGintie’s on this:

    “Climate change and energy are in the news as the U.S. Senate, with much political drama, gears up to consider major legislation. In the House passed version and in the Senate draft, many interests – manufacturers, farmers, utilities, and oil and gas companies – were successful in winning desired concessions. Some ‘asks’ by industry are purely economic, part of the usual legislative give-and-take. Others go to core aspects of environmental law and policy. These requests go too far and should be rejected.

    The Clean Air Act has served the country well. First passed in 1970 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon, the Act is testimony to a concern for healthy air shared by Republicans and Democrats alike. In the four decades since, the Act has cleaned up smokestacks, slashed smog and soot, cut acid rain, toxics and hazardous air pollution, held down pollution from cars, trucks and buses, and helped heal the ozone layer. All the while, the Act has supported economic growth in America, both directly as technologies are invented and businesses built to solve pollution problems, and indirectly as Americans live healthier, more productive lives.

    Yet, the pending climate bills would strip away key provisions of the Clean Air Act: the EPA is prohibited from ordering greenhouse gas cuts beyond those in the bill. The states too are sidelined at least out until 2017. And a key authority exercised by California to clean up cars is in the balance.

    These provisions should be dropped.

    Time and again, the Clean Air Act has come to the rescue, moving in lock step with science. Take sooty pollution, for example. The EPA has acted to tighten standards when medical science demonstrated that lung disease and even death were being caused by smaller pollution particles.
    Businesses say they are concerned about conflicting standards. That’s easily resolved by directing the EPA to use only those tools specified by Congress for cutting climate pollution. The Clean Air Act is set up perfectly to work with this kind of directive. Already under the Act, certain kinds of pollutants are identified to be regulated through market mechanisms like trading, while others are handled through technology mandates. The EPA is authorized, and in most instances required, under the Act, regularly to review the standards and update them. In this way the EPA tightens standards to keep pace with science, but the more rigorous standard is a follow on to, not in conflict with, earlier directives.

    Keep in mind, too, EPA doesn’t have unlimited authority under the Clean Air Act. Once the science defines the problem, costs and technical feasibility are central to deciding the solution.
    Over the last decade, the states have led the way in devising and implementing strategies to cut greenhouse gases. Their initiatives have worked well in containing pollution and raising revenues to support new clean energy projects that have grown local economies. In the climate bills, these efforts are stopped by Congress. They should not be. Even in these bills, Congress recognizes that state and federal action can co-exist.

    Case in point: New federal requirements for the use of renewable energy are called for in the climate legislation — as a complement to state action, not a replacement. The states are not preempted on renewables and should not be on climate either.

    Some Senators also want to strip California of its authority under the Clean Air Act to order cuts in climate pollution caused by cars. This threatens a proven and vital instrument of environmental progress. Vehicle by vehicle, the auto fleet today is remarkably cleaner than ever before. Advances in electric and alternate fuel technology promise even more gains. But the truth is that California has always pushed the progress toward a cleaner fleet. The feds have followed. Climate pollution proves the point: the federal government is acting only now, trailing California by nearly a decade. Bottom line: cars would be dirtier and more inefficient today without California’s leadership, and that’s what we are in store for in the future if these provisions succeed.

    It is important to remember that the pending climate bills represent only a very modest step forward in taking on the climate problem. At 17 percent by 2020, the emission reductions are small compared to the cuts called for by scientists to stabilize the climate, and even then, the generous opportunity provided in the bills to count forest and farmland conservation against pollution reduction requirements means that pollution may be offset rather than actually cut.

    Attempting these far reaching rollbacks of long-standing and proven environmental policy is a particularly bad idea in the context of climate change. We know climate change presents greater challenges than any environmental problem confronted to date, imperiling the nation’s security and economy as well as public health.

    To meet this challenge we should be acting now to reinforce and extend environmental policy tools, not take them away.”

    Kathleen McGinty was Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality 1993-1998 and Secretary of the PA Dept of Environmental Protection 2003-2008

  10. Great analysis, hope our side pushes hard to get it over the top. Instead of bitching and moaning about how much better they could make it.

  11. Dana Pearson says:

    My extremely angry and frustrated email to the White House:

    “What the hell’s wrong with you? This is the perfect storm to go all out for a robust clean energy jobs bill and you are sitting on your hands. Are you insane? We are destroying half our fishing industry and you are blowing it. Everyone agrees, even the financial times! See Joe Rohme’s fine discussion on this at http://climateprogress.org/2010/05/04/obama-speech-bp-oil-disaster-clean-energy-climate-bill/

    We all, including you, have children who will someday look at us in shame if you don’t seize this opportunity to change the future. It could totally change the upcoming elections. WHERE DID YOU GO, OBAMA? Everyone on the planet needs you to stand up and energize us into doing what we must do! THE TIME IS NOW… I feel I’ve entered the twilight zone and you’ve been taken over by aliens bent on destroying our world… WAKE UP AND DO THIS… IT WILL BE SO FANTASTIC… AND SOOOO HORRIBLE IF YOU CONTINUE BOWING DOWN TO THE”DARK” POWERS OF THE FOSSILE FUEL INDUSTRY. THEY ARE INSANE WITH POWER AND GREED AND ARE DESTROYING OUR FUTURE… YOU SHOULD BE OUT IN FRONT OF THIS!!! CONGRESS WILL FOLLOW YOUR LEAD AND IF REPUGS GET IN YOUR WAY, GEEEZE MAN, YOU’VE NEVER HAD SUCH AN EASY OPPORTUNITY TO WIN THIS ONE… IT IS OUR LAST CHANCE, SIR…”

    I sure hope they all wake up, as this just keeps getting worse and worse and the opportunity to change the direction of the world has never been so clear and easy to argue for…

    Not to get crass about it, but the electioneering possibilities of this are also stunning… Republicans fighting against clean energy in the middle of the most horrendously graphic illustration of the horrors of fossil fuels. Furthermore, the whole jobs angle… Why would Obama ignore the opportunity to take a sure defeat in this years elections and turn it into a total victory? I find this extremely disturbing and makes me think all sorts of weird stuff…

    We definitely need to move forward here and keeping the pressure on the white house, which is either asleep at the wheel, co opted somehow, or….???? I just don’t get it!!!

  12. Jeff Huggins says:

    In reading all this, I’m wondering if I’m on another planet? I look out of my windows and see that the sun has gone down tonight, as usual. This morning seemed like a regular morning. The Starbucks coffee tastes the same. I think I’m still here on Earth?!

    But — and perhaps this is the case — as long as we all realize this — the four-page summary, and the analysis, must only be “digestible” by folks who already know how this thing is presumably supposed to work. I mean, I can barely understand a darn thing, except for stuff that is so ambiguous and cleverly worded that it’s hard to grasp the specifics. In other words, unless I’m mistaken, the four-page summary and this post/analysis of it are not at all written in “plain English” and aren’t possibly written (I hope) for regular folks like me.

    I mean, I spent eighteen-years-plus in school, and I know a good deal about energy, and I’m not too bad with English, and I’ve read somewhat about the various possible approaches, but reading the four-pager and this post/analysis was not at all “easy” (indeed, I gave up), and I’m not sure what this “thing” is all about and how it works.

    Then, when I glance at the earlier comments — most of which seem to say “great” and are written by folks who apparently understand this whole thing, somehow — I think I must have missed the party?

    I guess my main points are these: I hope that whoever wrote that “leaked” four-pager, and whoever wrote the analysis, … that they realize that those items are not going to be digestible and understandable by 99.99 percent of the population. Right? Or am I just stupid?

    Thus, I hope that people get very good, quick, at explaining what this actually is and how it works. Use plain English, concrete words, specifics, and simple examples, please. Call a “cap” a “cap” or a limit. If there is a “collar”, explain what a “collar” is (please!), at least if it’s anything other than something to put on your dog or something that’s part of your shirt.

    In fact, I won’t even list all of the elements of the four-pager, or of the analysis, that are hard or impossible to understand as they are currently written.

    Is there a plan to offer a ten-hour course on all this, for the average American, to give average Americans at least half a chance of understanding it?

    Also — although please forgive me for dumping on our favorite energy source, coal?! — is there some problem with my mind? Was I actually reading a clean energy and climate change bill when, all of a sudden, I came across wording that seemed to celebrate coal, commit to coal, commit to protect coal, commit to subsidize the coal industry, and practically act as though carbon sequestration and storage is a likely thing?

    Will someone please explain: Does this bill re-consummate our national marriage to coal, for better or worse, until death do us part?

    When will we get a version of this in plain English …. one that describes what this actually is, how it will work, with key specifics, in plain English?

    I’m sorry … perhaps I’m not in a good mood tonight.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  13. prokaryote says:

    ======
    392.39
    ======

    Atmospheric CO2 for April 2010

    Preliminary data released May 10, 2010 (NOAA-ESRL MLO)
    http://co2now.org/

    Almost 3ppm growth since last year. If you compare this with 2008/2009 the number accelerates.

    What the hell people waiting for?

  14. prokaryote says:

    Acceleration of Atmospheric CO2

    Atmospheric CO2 is accelerating upward from decade to decade. In the past ten years, the average annual rate of increase was 1.91 parts per million (ppm). This rate of increase is more than double what it was during the first ten years of CO2 instrument measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory.

    Decade Annual Rate of Increase (Atmospheric CO2)

    2000 – 2009 1.92 ppm

    1990 – 1999 1.52 ppm

    1980 – 1989 1.61 ppm

    1970 – 1979 1.22 ppm

    1960 – 1969 0.86 ppm
    http://co2now.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=172&Itemid=32

    And now we have almost 3 ppm. Talking about keeping faith into human inteligence.

  15. Peter Wood says:

    I’m glad that despite introducing a ‘hard’ price collar, they have kept the allowance reserve, which they call a ‘cost containment reserve’. I look forward to seeing the details of how it will work, as well as the rest of the bill.

    I hope it gets 60 votes, and if it doesn’t, then they should force anyone who wants to filibuster to actually ‘talk’.

  16. Chris Dudley says:

    Interesting timing: Andy Revkin is highlighting a paper from the Pielke-Nordhaus-Shellenberger fetish that says just throw the whole thing out, no emissions caps at all…. It is a sad little read so far, full of sound and fury but apparently signifying nothing.

    [JR: Precisely!]

  17. Anonymous says:

    What happened to a nationwide renweable portfolio standard?

  18. mark says:

    Dana Pearson:

    “My extremely angry and frustrated email to the White House:”

    Very well done.

    I hope that the farmers are able to get a good understanding of the three paychecks outlined above.

    They are on the receiving end of a lot of disinformation.

  19. fj2 says:

    Regarding Joseph Romm: “There really is no Plan B.”

    It is nice getting people to act and do something but, . . .

    With the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps and 24% per quarter-year increases in China’s green house gas emissions there may only be Plan B dealing with accelerating environmental crisis as a war of positive disruption of business as usual outlined in Lester R. Brown’s books of the same in the latest version 4.0.

  20. think says:

    Nuclear energy is the dirtiest and the most $$ if you count the nuclear waste disposal cost and the health risk to the consumers from the associated high voltage lines. This component of the cost, and the associated risks unloaded directly on the future energy consumers, are not part of the report and the topics are understated in the mainstream media. The radioactive leaks are not publicized. Not many people know there are “permitted” leaks and once the leak exceeds the “permitted” level it is often covered up. The “permitted” radiation AND electro-magnetic levels already are well above European norms. The right-of-way for the voltage generation is zoned with no regards to the consumers’ safety. Everybody: Do research about your own neighborhood, you will find many nasty things. And how will they enhance the “regulatory oversight” when the regulators are paid well less then they can get from power plants, who are rich with consumers’ money and our also paid by us tax guaranteed ???? wake-up here. They cannot even make the border secure, and try to appear to be “tough” by busting successful union workers for papers. How can they “secure” the power plants in residential proximity from an attack?

  21. Mike #22 says:

    to Jim Edelson (#9) about throwing out the CAA.

    I read “TITLE II – GLOBAL WARMING POLLUTION REDUCTION” (starts on page 6) as clarifying and amplifying the EPA Administrator’s regulatory role under the CAA with respect to greenhouse gasses.

    Most importantly, it provides for the periodic adjustment of targets to reflect the science:

    “Part A – Global Wanning Pollution Reduction Goals and Targets.
    Sections 701-705. States that the goals of Title VII and Title VIII are to reduce economy-wide global warming pollution to 95.25 percent of2005 levels by 2013,83 percent by 2020,58 percent by 2030, and 17 percent by 2050. Includes a scientific review and program recommendations based on analysis of the latest scientific information.”

  22. Jay says:

    Wow, Joe.

    I tolerated your exaggerations against Nuclear Power because I presumed you to be principled in your opposition to it.

    And yet, irnoically, this act would represent the most preposterous subsidy ever granted any enterprise in this country, and you support it in response to the dog whistle of Obama. While the taxpayers would fully guarantee the debt that finances 80% of the costs, the “investors” would get a 10% refundable Investment Tax Credit (50% return on their investment) PLUS a grossly exaggerated 5-year depreciation schedule for reactors industry claims will be in service for 50 years. If you do the math, you’ll see the depreciation aspect alone is worth twice as much as the Investment Tax Credit.

    “Socialize the costs, privatize the gains” *never* was more apt.

    Everyone and their mother will rush to build Nuclear. And, of course, the sycophants among the Left will continue to oppose Yucca. So, of course, we’ll end up at the worst outcome imaginable, nukes everywhere with no place for the waste, and units going bankrupt because they were not built with moral hazards aligned properly.

  23. Lakiesel says:

    Okay, well I just moved to Massachusetts after living in Vermont for a few years. As some of you may know, VT just voted overwhelmingly to shut down its Yankee Nuclear Plant. The Plant was leaky and caused local environmental and health issues (and that’s just with small leaks). And they did sketchy things to cover it up. See what’s happening in the Gulf right now? Pretty bad, huh? Now, imagine that was a nuclear blast instead. And, of course, nuke plants will go up near poor neighborhoods. While rich, pro-environment people can’t even stand the distant sight of an offshore windfarm, we’ll make sure to keep blowing up mountains, and putting dirty and dangerous energy sources near the communities of the disenfranchised. Nonetheless, this bill seems much better than its House counterpart. However, I still take issue with it usurping the authority of the EPA’s Clean Air Act, and the ability of states to impose stricter regulations.

  24. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe wrote: “Kerry and Lieberman have apparently been waiting for a sign from above … Instead, the unmistakable message that we need to get off of dirty, unsafe fossil fuels came from an undersea volcano of oil …”

    Actually, there was an “unmistakable message from above”, namely the “extreme precipitation event” that devastated Tennessee. I talked to someone in Nashville who told me it was like Katrina, the entire downtown was under water — and he was astonished and appalled at the lack of national media coverage. I know this site has been an exception and has reported on the flooding and the link to AGW. But most people in the USA have little idea of what happened and NO idea of how it fits into the pattern of increasingly frequent and extreme “precipitation events”.

  25. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe wrote: “Then again, the possibility we were going to cut U.S. CO2 emissions 80% in four decades without building a dozen new [nuclear power plants] was pretty small.”

    If you mean that politically, given the entrenched wealth and inordinate political power of the nuclear industry, the chance of passing a bill that didn’t squander tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on the wasteful, dangerous, risky and ineffectual boondoggle of building new nuclear power plants was “pretty small”, I tend to agree.

    On the other hand, if you mean that as a practical matter, the chances of reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent in four decades without building new nuclear power plants is “small”, then you are completely wrong.

    We can certainly reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent in a much shorter time than that, without building new nukes — and technologically and economically, it isn’t even very hard to do.

  26. I don’t see the 1) the 25 dollar collar in 21 pager, nor do I see where the new cap’s previously reported features- Industries come in at 2016, what large sources definition is, what the transport set allowance price is-described in either document. As it was described before you had a lower carbon price and less % of emissions covered. So much like watching a lost episode I feel like I have more questions then yesterday.

    Is the Cap still covering ≈30% less of the carbon pie or is the math different then they report?
    Are they relaying on similar titles/mechanisms to achieve more or less then ACES to achieve results.

    Is emission reduction target aspirational?

  27. Jay says:

    Let me add some meat to my earlier post, regarding the giveaways to nuclear in the bill Joe and Dan are now shilling for:

    Private investors will put up 20% of the project’s cost. They will receive a 10% investment tax *credit* (not deduction) on likely the entirety of the project’s costs, including the 80% that is not at risk (the federally guaranteed loans). They will also receive, in 6-7 years, and accelerated 5-year depreciation of the entirety of the project’s cost (the 10% ITC is not deducted from this basis), with a 35% deduction accruing the first year of operation.

    The combination of the new ITC and the new 5-Year ACRS (compared with an ITC only on at-risk capital and a 15-Year ACRS as is otherwise standard), these *new* incentives will be worth an additional $30/MWH to the owners of the plant. To put this in perspective, natural-gas fired baseload power sells for less than $40/MWH full cost in Texas these days.

  28. homunq says:

    It’s worth it to the Democrats to make an all-out push to pass this this year, EVEN IF THEY FAIL, AND EVEN FROM A PURELY PARTISAN PERSPECTIVE. That goes against the CW, in which failure is never a partisan good. But it would help increase Dem turnout, by highlighting the party differences on a key issue. And the argument could be: if such a key bill gets filibustered to death this year, then next year we’ll rein in the filibuster, and we will be able to pass it with a majority that’s strong but not 60.

    In other words: if this can’t pass this year, then there are two options. Worldwide doom (hell and high water) costing quadrillions of dollars and significant fractions of existing lives; or end the filibuster so this can pass. The filibuster is really that important.

  29. Jay says:

    OK, I finally read the bill. It looks like the ITC only applies to the at-risk portion of the project, and thus the taxpayer subsidies embodied herein (on top of the earlier announced loan guarantees) add another $20/MWH, not $30/MWH. It’s still true, however, that every utility in America will be looking around for a site for a nuclear plant, given the enormity of the giveaway we are talking about here.

  30. substanti8 says:

    SecularAnimist (#24) wrote:

    “I talked to someone in Nashville who … was astonished and appalled at the lack of national media coverage.”

    Yes, that’s been the propaganda from those promoting the myth of “liberal media” bias.  The charge of insufficient attention feeds right into the narcissism already permeating the American culture (and the NASCAR subculture).  It’s also often accompanied by veiled racist comparisons with poor blacks on the rooftops of New Orleans.

    “Most people in the USA have little idea of what happened …”

    I’ve seen no evidence to support that assertion.  But of course, that doesn’t stop people from repeating it ad nauseam on the irrational internet.  Even if it were true, that would only suggest that most Americans are too lazy or stupid to read a newspaper:

    15 Associated Press articles (reprinted in newspapers all over the country)
    9 New York Times articles
    There were also original stories in the Los Angeles Times.

    What I find especially amusing are the videos by Southerners who complain about a lack of coverage while displaying numerous press photographs of the flood.  Doh!

    I have a friend in Nashville too, and he said the flood damage has been mostly overstated for political reasons, especially in the context of another tea-bagger canard – that the Obama administration failed to respond quickly.

    [JR: Essentially no coverage of the link to climate change.]

  31. mens fashion says:

    At least the government is making a difference and having a good start. Hope eventually all mankind benefit greatly from this new move.