Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Climate/Energy Bill Debate

On the Climate 'n Energy bill in the Senate: the Conventional Wisdom says it doesn't have much of a chance, and like everything else these days, it is attacked from the Right and the Left. From the Left, there's Phil Radford of Greenpeace debating Joseph Romm of Climate Progress. I love Greenpeace but Radford didn't make much sense, and Romm was right to call him out on misstatements. Radford did make one cogent claim, though: the carbon costs imposed by this bill aren't high enough to jump-start clean energy and energy conservation. That's an important concern, although I don't necessarily accept that his opinion is correct. I'd like to see this point joined more specifically.

(His other claim--that the bill isn't strong enough to give Europe and the rest of the world the cover to continue their efforts--was also simply an assertion, surrounded by faulty data. So someone else will have to produce evidence to make this claim more credibly.)

Otherwise, Romm is persuasive: the idea is to turn the ship around, get it going in the right direction: towards penalizing the production of heat-trapping gases and incentives for clean energy. Maybe it's not enough. But the alternative, which is pretty clearly not doing anything at all, is definitely not enough.

But issues that need to be clarified: are individual states going to be prevented from establishing stronger rules, and if so why, and how it that going to work anyway? And if they are going to take the only weapon now in the arsenal away--EPA's ability to regulate carbon based on the Clean Air Act--what enforcement with the force of law will substitute?

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