Energy and Global Warming News for May 20th: Climate bill could be a $750 billion boon for consumers, study finds

Climate Bill Could Be a $750 Billion Boon for Consumers, Study Finds

Opponents of climate legislation paint efforts to reduce carbon emissions as “cap and tax” policy, but a new analysis of the current House proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions finds that consumers would receive around $750 billion in direct and indirect handouts and subsidies through 2030 to offset the higher energy costs.

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I am a big fan of the work of the group behind this analysis, Point Carbon, a source of timely information on the international carbon market — and the best place to find the current price of a CO2 in the European market.

Point Carbon, a market analysis firm, has estimated that the total value of the allowances given out by the government would amount to $1.5 trillion between 2012 and 2030, assuming carbon prices would rise from $13 per ton in 2013 to $22 per ton.

Point Carbon estimates about half the allowances would go toward consumer protection.

The House bill seeks to avoid the pitfall faced by Europe, where regulators essentially gave the carbon allowances free to power producers who pocketed the windfall, but did not ease costs on consumers.

In Point Carbon’s projections, investments to clean energy would total $188 billion, forest protection and adaptation would get $124 billion.

Revised House bill carries smaller price tag — EPA

Compromises among House Democrats will lower the price slightly for a major climate and energy bill being marked up this week in the Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. EPA said in a preliminary analysis released today.

EPA’s analysis says that major changes to the legislation made during closed-door talks between committee leaders with moderate and conservative Democrats produced a less-aggressive 2020 limit on greenhouse gas emissions, free allowances to local distribution companies that service electric utilities, greater use of international and domestic offsets, and additional incentives for carbon capture and storage.

As a result, EPA said, H.R. 2454 “would likely result in lower allowance prices, a smaller impact on energy bills, and a smaller impact on household consumption” when compared with an earlier study of the legislation when in draft form. The agency did not put dollar figures on its new assessment, but it cited the previous analysis that found allowance prices of $13 to $17 in 2015, as well as a $98 to $140 per year cost from the legislation for individual households.

14 hours later, Democrats hold the line on cap-and-trade bill

House Democrats defeated a series of Republican “benchmark” amendments aimed at halting a future U.S. global warming law during a 14-hour, politically charged Energy and Commerce Committee markup yesterday.

House panel approves ‘clean energy’ bank

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a provision to its sweeping climate and energy bill that would create an autonomous Clean Energy Deployment Administration within the Energy Department and make reforms to DOE’s loan guarantee program for low-emission projects.

The time spent debating the amendment was more than hour, suggesting the committee will face a slog through the 946-page measure. The amendment passed 51–6, with ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas) among a handful of Republicans who opposed it.

Bipartisan Senate trio offers ‘clunkers’ counterproposal

Dissatisfied with the environmental benefits of the current “clunkers” offering in the House, a bipartisan Senate trio floated a counterproposal yesterday calling for greater fuel-economy gains from Americans who scrap their old autos for new fuel-efficient ones in exchange for a government check.

As Political Winds Shift, Detroit Charts New Course

Why, after decades of battling, complaining and maneuvering over fuel economy standards, did carmakers fall in line behind the tough new nationwide mileage standard President Obama announced Tuesday?

Because they had no choice. The auto industry is flat on its back, with Chrysler in bankruptcy, General Motors close to it, and both companies taking billions of dollars in federal money. Foreign automakers are getting help from their own governments. Climate change legislation is barreling down the track, and Congress showed last fall that it had no appetite to side with Detroit any more.

Simply put, Detroit and the other companies need Washington’s help, and they are powerless to block the rules Washington dictates.

Addressing the Military’s Energy Inefficiency

The folks who gave the world the Hummer, the poster child of fuel inefficiency, want to spawn a new generation of eco-friendly military equipment with cross-over potential in the “civilian sector,” say a group of retired American military officers who released a sharply worded report on Monday calling on the Department of Defense to reduce its “carbon bootprint.”

Climate change lobbying dominated by 10 firms

Lobbyists are cramming into a Rayburn House Office Building hearing room this week for the Energy and Commerce Committee’s markup of landmark legislation to curb global warming through a complex cap-and-trade system.

But some of those lobbyists will carry a bit more weight “” or at least a heftier client list “” than others.

A new analysis of Senate disclosure records by The Center for Public Integrity found that 10 lobbying firms “” all with deep ties to Capitol Hill “” have amassed such large client lists that they represent nearly 100 of the business stakeholders in the legislative brawl. Here they are”¦

Repowering America’s Defense: Energy And The Risks To National Security

The Department of Defense (DOD) is the single largest consumer of energy in the United States. A new report by the Military Advisory Board (MAB) of the Center for Naval Analysis, “Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security,” describes the significant security threats the energy status quo poses to US military missions and the country:

Energy, security, economics, climate change “” these things are connected.

Previous Eras of Warming Hold Warnings for Our Age

By 2100, the world will probably be hotter than it’s been in 3 million years. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, paleoecologist Anthony D. Barnosky describes the unprecedented challenges that many species will face in this era of intensified warming.

Compiled by Max Luken and Carlin Rosengarten