Sunday, May 24, 2009

Energy & Climate Bill passes Committee

Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Clean Energy Legislation
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved "The American Clean Energy and Security Act" (ACES Act, H.R. 2454) by a vote of 33 to 25 on May 21, 2009. According to co-sponsors Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, the bill charts a new course towards a clean energy economy. It imposes the first nationwide limits to greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was called 'historic' by President Obama.

The ACES Act proposes to create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America's energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. Passage of such legislation this year is said to be crucial to demonstrate U.S. leadership on limiting greenhouse gas emissions prior to the international meeting in Copenhagen in December. Read more about the bill here.

Landmark Climate Bill Supported By Industry Giants and Enviros
According to the Energy Committee, supporters of the bill include BP America, Caterpillar, Conoco, Dow Chemical, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Shell and Siemens. Among community and environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, American Lung Association and Center for American Progress have given their support, as reported here.

Has anyone actually read the entire ACES bill?
Don't have time to read the nearly 1000 page ACES bill? No problem. 1Sky.org has read it and has provided a preliminary analysis. The analysis is condensed in tabular form for easy reading, and can be obtained here. Contact Jason Kowalski at Jason@1Sky.org with any questions or comments.

Greens take sides on the ACES bill
Longtime climate crusader Al Gore says we should do all we can to get the legislation passed, while top climate scientist James Hansen says we should demand a different, better bill, according to Lisa Hymas, Grist's senior editor.

Gore says the bill is a good starting point, and that efforts to reach compromise on it have boosted its chances of passing both the House and the Senate. He believes that he key role of the legislation is to begin that shift to lower emissions.

According to James Hansen, “The revised Waxman-Markey climate bill is too watered down to qualify as a positive step for avoiding catastrophic climate disruption.

Activists and environmental groups are picking sides or staking out positions in the middle, 1Sky.org is viewed to be in the middle, along with goups such as NRDC, Sierra Club, Apollo Alliance, Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters, and many others.

Jesse Jenkins, of the Breakthrough Institute, believes that to drive the transition and jump-start a new energy economy we must, “make clean energy the profitable kind of energy,” as President Obama has said. The gap in price between our traditional sources of energy and new, clean energy sources, like wind, solar power and biofuels, must be closed, and this can be done in two ways. We can make conventional, dirtier energy sources more expensive. Or we can make new, clean energy sources more affordable. Jesse Jenkins worries that as currently drafted, the ACES bill will fail to effectively utilize either option, and therefore prove unable to reduce emissions or truly build a new clean energy economy.

But it ain't over, 'till it's over
The ACES bill still has quite a ways to go before passage by the full House. According to Grist's political reporter, Kate Sheppard, at least six other House committees have jurisdiction over some portion of this bill, including the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees legislation pertaining to taxes and other revenue sources. In that committee, John Larson (D-Conn.) has offered a carbon-tax bill and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has proposed a cap-and-dividend bill. Kate Sheppard writes that they will want to play a role in shaping the final legislation.


Follow the ACES Bill Debate and Updates on Twitter at Grist

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