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Complementary Policies Do Much of the Heavy Lifting in Waxman-Markey

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"Complementary Policies Do Much of the Heavy Lifting in Waxman-Markey"

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Via Joe Romm, an excellent graphic on the Waxman-Markey bill from the World Resources Institute that clarifies an important part about the bill—in the short-term, much of the work is being done by the bill’s “complementary policies” rather than the cap-and-trade as such:

wri-waxman-markey-1

In part, this reflects the reality that the climate pollution is going to be relatively inelastic over the short term. Our energy usage patterns are tied up in our existing stock of power plants, houses, roads, automobiles, and consumer durable goods. Over time, a clear and consistent price signal will shift us to a much more sustainable level of emissions. But price won’t change much in the very short term. So more direct policies targeting efficiency and clean energy are hugely important.

Consequently, when you look at Waxman-Markey comprehensively, it’s stronger on the short-term than just looking at the cap-and-trade provisions would lead you to believe. And as for the long-term, well, the long-term is important. But we’re obviously going to revisit our energy policy again between now and 2025, so flaws in the far-out years aren’t so significant. It’s better to get the out years right, of course, but there’s plenty of time to make changes there if necessary.

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