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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Keeping Up the Power Shift: Time to Ask Congress for a Down Payment on the Future

by Natasha Chart (cross-posted from PacificViews):

The House has a new energy proposal out that you should support. Not because it's perfect, but because it's the right thing to do right now, to recognize the tremendous efforts it required of Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Markey to pull off. I described it last Friday as a miracle, because no one thought higher fuel efficiency standards had a prayer of making it in. This is what Rep. Markey said about the bill in a recent oped in the subscription-only Roll Call, emphasis mine:

... The bill will, by 2030, save more than twice the amount of oil America currently imports from the Persian Gulf and will make a significant down payment on the global warming emissions reductions needed to save the planet. Democratic leaders will continue to fight for renewable electricity standards that will boost the use of wind, solar and other alternative fuels, and to repeal billions of dollars in giveaways to the oil industry. ...

It's a down payment, as he says, and we need to start somewhere. It reassures me that he understands there's more work to be done and that he won't give up. Adam Siegel makes a clear case for supporting the House legislation now that acknowledges the good and bad, estimating in the end that this represents a step forward. A necessary bridge to where we need to be.

So contact your representatives in the House as soon as possible to ask them to support the new Energy Bill with the higher CAFE standards, and ask your representatives in the Senate to support these important amendments by Sen. Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Sanders (I-VT) to the the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.

[Editor's note (Jesse Jenkins): the Climate Security Act is being debated and amended in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wed Dec 5th and Thu Dec 6th. The bill is not yet consistent with strong, science-based and just principles, but the following amendments may strengthen the bill, making it significantly better]:
Clinton Amendment #1.

Clinton amendment #1 would eliminate the free allocation of carbon permits to fossil fuel fired electric generators, rural cooperatives, energy intensive manufacturing, petroleum producers or importers, and HFC producers forcing this industries to buy all of these permits in an open auction. In addition, the amendment eliminates bonus allowances for carbon capture and sequestration.

Clinton Amendment #2.

Clinton amendment #2 reduces the amount of auction revenue given through the "advanced coal and sequestration" program under the Energy Deployment and Technology fund, limiting the program to what's needed to get carbon capture and sequestration commercially viable. The amendment disperses unused funds to other programs in the Energy Deployment and Technology fund for purposes such as sustainable energy and cellulosic ethanol development and deployment.

Sanders Amendment #3.

Standard for Receiving Bonus Allowances: This amendment would strike the portion of the bill that describes the emission performance standards that make a project eligible to receive bonus allowances (a tiered approach) and would insert in its place the eligibility language as it was voted out of Subcommittee (an 85% standard).

Sanders Amendment #4.

Emission Reduction Targets: This amendment would require the Administrator to promulgate rules to revise the post-2020 emission allowance table in Sec. 1201 (d) and promulgate further rules in order to achieve an 80% reduction in all U.S. global warming emissions by 2050, as compared to 1990.

Sanders Amendment #5.

Scientific Lookback: This amendment would require the EPA Administrator, following a report by the National Academies of Sciences (required by the underlying language), to promulgate regulations to tighten the emissions caps if the latest science suggests that we are not on track to avert a 2 degree Celsius increase in global average temperature. The language explicitly recognizes that Congress should be given an oversight role by saying that any regulations promulgated under this language would be subject to the Congressional Review Act.

Again, contact your representatives as soon as possible, preferably by phone. Congress is like your mom that way. When you call, they know you really care.

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