Resistance Begins at Ohm!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What is in the Clean Energy Act passed by the House?

Read Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's summary

Most disturbing to me is the politicians once again choosing winners and losers. Which category is your state in?

No doubt I am over-simplifying this but....

The EPA has declared that CO2 is a pollutant. (So is sea water and plastic, but let's not go there.)
While they have not determined how they are going to regulate it, because of their authority (the clean air act), their power is pretty much limited to setting a cap on CO2 production.

There is some debate about whether the clean air act gives them the necessary authority, and so any regulation they come up with will likely be the subject of years of legal maneuvering. The Supreme Court has already determined that the Clean Air Act is broad enough to include greenhouse gasses and that EPA is required to regulate it. This has nothing to do with scientific study, fact or climate fanatic (for or against control) opinion. It is determined based only on the clean air statute.

The House proposal is known as cap and trade. Trade in this context means trade for money. The EPA proposal would be cap and penalize. Between the two, I think cap by itself is a fairer action. But then, congress would not be calling the shots and we know how they feel about that. In the end, the government is going to get a lot of money from industries that exceed their CO2 limits.

What disturbs me almost as much as the winners and losers aspect of cap and trade is the creation of yet another speculative market for something that has no intrinsic value. The government is going to set a limit on how much carbon an industry/company can produce. Then, they are going to sell permits to exceed that limit. And the secondary market in those permits will be akin to credit swaps. We know where that led us. On top of that, the speculators betting on the get or give will further corrupt the fake market. Congress being such an honest institution, can certainly be counted on to keep things fair and equitable. Any bets? Doesn't cap and penalize seem a lot simpler and less likely to line some pockets of the rich and well lobbied?

One of the climate extremists says this is tantamount to selling indulgences. Yep, I would have to agree.
I guess we can be grateful that mostly likely we will get both.

source for what the EPA announcement means
Supreme Court case
A discussion on why the decision is stupid

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