Boxer releases Chairman’s mark of Senate clean energy bill; EPA releases economic analysis finding cost to U.S. households of under $10 a month, bill consistent with global effort to stabilize at 2°C warming

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"Boxer releases Chairman’s mark of Senate clean energy bill; EPA releases economic analysis finding cost to U.S. households of under $10 a month, bill consistent with global effort to stabilize at 2°C warming"

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today released the text of the Chairman’s Mark of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733).Senator Boxer said, “We’ve reached another milestone as we move to a clean energy future, creating millions of jobs and protecting our children from dangerous pollution. I look forward to the hearings and the markup as we move ahead to the next step.”

That’s from the EPW news release from late Friday night.  The full text of the Chairman’s Mark is here (big PDF).  The main difference between this text and the draft of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act released late last month is that it “specifies distribution of emissions allowances” (details here).  The allowance allocations are similar to the house bill but not identical, but the bottom line is the same — “Ensures that the majority of investments in the bill are for consumer protection” (see also Harvard economist Stavins here).

Equally important for moving the bill forward in an expeditious manner, the EPA released its analysis of the Chairman’s Mark (click here).  EPW described that analysis and the process going forward:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also released a detailed economic analysis of The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that found no significant change in the estimated cost to American families, compared with H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey legislation passed this summer by the House of Representatives. EPA’s analysis of the House bill found that “average household consumption would be reduced by less than 1% in all years” compared with a business-as-usual scenario, and estimated the overall impact on the average household would be 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).

On Tuesday, October 27, the Environment and Public Works Committee will start comprehensive legislative hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Senators will hear testimony from nine panels totaling 54 witnesses over the course of three days. Senator Boxer has indicated that the EPW Committee will mark up the legislation as soon as possible following the completion of legislative hearings.

These results are comparable to the major analyses of the House bill:

The Senate EPW bill, of course, doesn’t include all of the efficiency provisions in the House bill, since that is the domain of the Senate energy committee which has already passed out its legislation (which is considerably wimpier on efficiency than the House).  The result (page 14 of EPA):

In total, because there is no provision comparable to the CERES in H.R. 2454, the building codes provision does not specify target energy use reduction levels or provide federal authorities to ensure compliance, and the energy efficiency-related allowance allocations are lower, EPA expects the impacts (e.g., changes in energy demand and prices) of energy efficiency provisions in S. 1733 to be approximately half those estimated in our  analysis of H.R. 2454.

This suggests an important strategy for progressives when the bill reaches the Senate floor or when the bill gets to a House Senate conference:  If moderates and conservatives are going to insist on major expansions of policies and incentives for nuclear power, coal with carbon capture and storage, drilling, and natural gas, then progressives need to fight to keep the House efficiency provisions in the final bill.

One final point, in its analysis, EPA also looks at the climate bill in the context of international action, to see what the full impact might be in various scenarios:

  1. Reference: no climate polices or measures adopted by any countries.
  2. G8 – International Assumptions: consistent with G8 agreement to reduce global emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. U.S. and other developed countries reduce emissions to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050, and developing countries cap emissions beginning in 2025, and return emissions to 26% below 2005 levels by 2050. All countries hold emissions targets constant after 2050.
  3. Developing Countries After 2050: US and developed countries same as G8 scenario. Developing countries adopt policy in 2050 holding emissions constant at 2050 levels.

The result:

In the reference scenario, CO2e concentrations in 2100 would rise to approximately 936 ppm [aka "Hell and High Water "].  If the U.S. and other developing countries took action to reduce emissions to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050, and developing countries took no action until 2050, then CO2e concentrations in 2100 would rise to approximately 647 ppm. If the G8 goals are met, then CO2e concentrations would rise to approximately 485 ppm in 2100. It should be noted that CO2e concentrations are not stabilized in these scenarios. To prevent concentrations from continuing to rise after 2100, post-2100 GHG emissions would need to be further reduced. For example, stabilization of CO2e concentrations at 485 ppm would require net CO2e emissions to go to zero in the very long run after 2100.

Given the CO2e concentrations for the various scenarios, we can also calculate the observed change in global mean temperature (from pre-industrial time) in 2100 under different climate sensitivities. Assuming the G8 goals (reducing global emissions to 50% below 2005 by 2050) are met, warming in 2100 would be limited to no more than 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels under a climate sensitivity of 3.0 or lower.

So the Senate climate bill is consistent with a set of international policies that keep warming at levels that greatly reduce the risk of catastrophic impacts.


http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Majority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=84691b8e-802a-23ad-4728-e60de8d50fea&Region_id=&Issue_id=
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11 Responses to Boxer releases Chairman’s mark of Senate clean energy bill; EPA releases economic analysis finding cost to U.S. households of under $10 a month, bill consistent with global effort to stabilize at 2°C warming

  1. darth says:

    Hey Joe, Investors Business Daily is at it again with this latest tripe:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ibd/20091023/bs_ibd_ibd/20091023issues01

    (the link is right on the “news from climate ark” links.

    Care to debunk the assorted claims – this one has it all the favorites like warming stopped in 98, costs to much anyway, china & india won’t agree, and Copenhagen is all about crippling the US economy. What a bunch of putzes over there.

  2. Sasparilla says:

    Good news to see this moving along.

    The analysis regarding future temperature rises should be given a big “from what we understand” escape clause according to the writers, as nobody with detailed knowledge of the climate issue would say that the proposed US climate bills would ramp things down nearly fast enough.

    That said, its so darn good to see progress being made.

  3. Peter Wood says:

    The Market Stability Reserve allocation has been increased from 1% to 2% in 2012-2019 and from 2% to 3% in 2020-2029. This is an improvement to the environmental effectiveness of the bill. If the US carbon price is sufficiently low, which is very likely, emissions will be reduced by an extra 1%. This is akin to the US 2020 emission reduction target increasing by 1%. This is very welcome, but the chance of a good outcome at Copenhagen would be greatly increased if the US did a whole lot more.

    [JR: Yes. I was planning to blog on this tomorrow.]

  4. Paul says:

    Really…this is about protecting our children’s future! As a father of 2 young children I am deeply concerned about reducing CO2.

  5. J4zonian says:

    “This suggests an important strategy for progressives when the bill reaches the Senate floor or when the bill gets to a House Senate conference: If moderates and conservatives are going to insist on major expansions of policies and incentives for nuclear power, coal with carbon capture and storage, drilling, and natural gas, then progressives need to fight to keep the House efficiency provisions in the final bill.”

    That’s funny. The strategy those provisions suggest to me is to condemn the bill as the enormous corrupt sellout to energy corporations that it is and do everything we can to defeat it.

    “So the Senate Bill is consistent with a set of international policies…”

    Your scenarios remind me of one of Dave Barry’s columns in which he gave nutrition advice about as real as some of the foodlike products it was about. Someone asked about an ad saying something about a breakfast cereal being part of a nutritious breakfast that supplied this much calcium, blah blah… and Barry’s answer was that it could just as well say the cereal was ‘adjacent to a nutritious breakfast’ or ‘in the general vicinity of a nutritious breakfast’…

    A plan that will only get us to the goal if other countries who have a proven track record of not getting to their goals get to their goals is not much a plan. A plan that is guaranteed not to get us to any goal better than monumental destruction is not much of a plan. A plan that doesn’t account for or leave slack for expected unexpected events and unleashed feedback loops is not much of a plan. We can and must do better.

    [JR: Your analysis reminds me of an analysis that makes no sense. The U.S. can't solve this problem by itself. You seem to think it can. Those of us who understand that other countries will need to take action understand this bill is consistent with that action. It should be stronger, yes, and I expect over time it will be. Try to become more informed before you post here, particularly if you intend to employ a derisive tone about things you apparently don't quite get.]

  6. J4zonian says:

    My post from yesterday does not appear.

    [snip]

    [JR: I posted it. I originally didn't because it makes no sense. But now everybody can see for themselves.]

  7. J4zonian says:

    Thank you. Please tell me and your readers how it makes no sense. I’m a smart guy, don’t know everything and am willing to learn.

    [JR: This sentence makes no sense: "A plan that will only get us to the goal if other countries who have a proven track record of not getting to their goals get to their goals is not much a plan." I pointed out "The U.S. can't solve this problem by itself." It makes no sense to criticize the plan on that basis.

    Also, one reason that some other rich countries have not pursued emissions reductions as seriously as they might is that the U.S. bailed out of Kyoto. A key point of a US climate bill -- even one that could be much better, like this one -- is to allow a genuine global deal. I'll write more on this shortly.]

  8. “Please tell me and your readers how it makes no sense.”

    Your comments bear no obvious relation to the items cited. There are no logical evaluations or factual connections made, but only a series of kerygmatic announcements without reference or direction. What is lacking in either logic or evidence is then compounded with no small measure of apparent self-righteousness.

    Thank you for letting us know that you are a smart guy. That makes everything clearer.

  9. J4zonian says:

    I am under no illusion that the US can do this alone and don’t know what gave you that impression. What I think we need to do, on the contrary, is to pass an even stronger bill to show the world we realize we are mainly responsible for a dire situation, that we are willing to act alone AS IF no one else was going to act, and thus both inspire and shame the world into doing more. Hedging our actions as a negotiating tactic, knowing they are doing the same, is shamelessly irresponsible and risks disaster. We need to stop trying to ‘win’ or outmaneuver other countries; we need to sacrifice our own unreasonable and unsustainable false wealth and unhealthy comfort, if need be. We need to put massive amounts of aid on the table to help China, India and other developing countries achieve a fair and reasonable lifestyle without destroying civilization. (and by doing so, negotiate them into doing it in a smarter way than they seem to be doing now.)

    I understand that the following is a debateable point, but while your fear seems to be not doing “anything” * my fear is that if we do this–current bills in House and Senate, which I agree are not enough–conservatives will use it as an excuse when the debate returns. Storms get worse? Conservatives say don’t worry; we already took care of it. Icecaps melt, methane released from the tundra, deadly heat waves? Don’t worry, be happy. Daddy’s taken care of it. Go back to sleep. Waxman-Markey-Boxer-Kerry will take care of it. In fact, given the diabolical brilliance and media dominance of the Rovian right, if we don’t do better I can easily see them being able to convince people about any of the absurdities put forth already: the need for breakthrough technology, the need to economically grow our way out of the problem, (and that point makes it seem like the more and more evident global energy-economic-ecological catastrophe is the fault of the left, with all those onerous regulations… blah blah.) It’s a dilemma, and none of us knows how it will turn out. My money is on getting something better now or next year, not resting until we can get enough people solidly behind us to get better representatives and/or bills with more money for clean energy, that begin to transform agriculture and don’t give away the money we need for those to fossil fuel companies. And at the same time, pursue individual solutions and local community solutions like Transition Towns. I do realize that’s not a sure thing; it seems in fact, unlikely to work. The worst of all possible ways, in fact, except for all the rest.


    *admittedly an exxageration but you seem to agree it’s not enough, from this: “It should be stronger, yes, and I expect over time it will be.”)

    I think with or without these bills we are doing a lot–conservation, solar and wind and alternative forms of transport are forging ahead, organic ag and permaculture is growing daily, and individuals and private organizations are leading the way toward a new type of society. Not fast enough, but recent polls and Saturday’s 350.org day of action–more than 5000 events in 180-some countries–show there is enormous worldwide support for even stronger action. The evidence accrues every week; I’m taking the admittedly risky bet that our position is getting stronger, that people are still connected enough to reality to recognize truth despite the seductive nonsense being spewed by the right.

    In my original post I should have said ‘defeat these provisions’ not defeat the bill, as we may not be at the point where they are unbreakably welded to it. My years of observation tell me when it gets to this stage everything public from here on is just a show; that the deals and decisions have already been made, but I’m willing to suspend my skepticism and act as if we still have a chance.

    What is there, besides your mistaken point about foreign interdependence, that you think I don’t get?

    And yes, I get sarcastic sometimes. When not directed at deniers, delayers and dupes it is more of an affectionate chiding, even though I haven’t mastered Twain’s skill at expressing it. I could start putting smiley face emoticons in my posts if that helps.

  10. J4zonian says:

    Gary,

    Is it not possible you just didn’t get my metaphor?

  11. Peter Wood says:

    One thing that concerns me is the lack of funding for international adaptation. As far as I can tell, Kerry-Boxer only allocates 0.25 percent of allowances for international adaptation (p. 638). This is significantly less than the 1 to 4 percent of allowances in the Waxman-Markey Bill.

    This will make an international agreement much harder.