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Tilting at Windmills

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January 27, 2010

CAP-AND-TRADE'S BLEAK FUTURE.... The fate of health care reform is, of course, unclear. How about the climate bill? The NYT reports today that advocates are "turning their sights to a more modest package of climate and energy measures that they believe has a better chance of clearing Congress this year."

Their preferred approach, a cap-and-trade system to curb emissions of climate-changing gases, already faced a difficult road in a bruised and divided Senate. Its prospects grew dimmer after the special election in Massachusetts last week was won by Scott Brown, a Republican who repudiated the federal cap-and-trade proposal in his campaign.

Republicans, industry executives and some Democrats have already written cap and trade's obituary, at least for this year. And even some of the system's most ardent supporters now say they must scale back their ambitions and focus on job-creating energy projects and energy efficiency measures if they are to have any hope of dealing with climate change in this Congress.

"Realistically, the cap-and-trade bills in the House and the Senate are going nowhere," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is trying to fashion a bipartisan package of climate and energy measures.

Graham, who said cap-and-trade is "dead," is working with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on an energy/climate bill that ostensibly offers a little something for everyone.

For its part, the White House seems to approve of the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman approach, and is willing to support drilling and expanded nuclear plants in exchange for "some form of cap on emissions."

Expect to hear more about this in the State of the Union tonight.

Steve Benen 11:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)

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Comments

It appears Cap and Trade is dead for the medium term future.

If you have a huge chunck of the country who doesn't believe in evolution and you have people like Rush Limbaugh saying there is no way God is going to create the earth and let us destroy it by making it too warm then we will never get 60 votes to accomplish anything.

All we can do is pray that Republicans and energy state Democrats will see that the problem is real before the problem is too great to solve.

Of course, when the US had the record low a few weeks ago while the world, as a whole, was quite warm, it really hurt public perception.

Posted by: neil wilson on January 27, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

What we will get from the corporate stooges in the Senate is a "climate and energy bill" which does NOTHING to actually limit CO2 pollution, but instead gives massive subsidies to the oil, coal and nuclear power corporations.

"Sensible liberals" will then proclaim that the Senate bill is the greatest thing since the creation of the EPA and a "once in a generation chance to fix the climate"; and will scream at environmentalists who reject the Senate bill that they are fools, cowards and traitors; and will mount a campaign to demand that the House "pass the damn bill".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 27, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"For its part, the White House seems to approve of the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman approach, and is willing to support drilling and expanded nuclear plants..."

Nuclear power is the very definition of Big Government. Huge government giveaways are required for construction, government infrastructure is required for waste transportation and storage, and government guarantees are required in the event of an accident. Without generous government giveaways and guarantees, no private company would touch nuclear power.

The neverending fight in favor of nuclear power is more evidence of the hypocrisy of the "small government" right.

Posted by: Chris on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

This is why the EPA needs to bring with the hammer with carbon emmissions. And 40 Democrats need to stand fast and not let enough conservative Democrats work with the Republicans to change it.

Make them desparate for a fix - and only accept a good cap and trade bill as a fix.

Posted by: Chris on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

the White House seems to approve of the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman approach, and is willing to support drilling and expanded nuclear plants in exchange for "some form of cap on emissions."

Advocates of nuclear power cite France and the U.S. Navy as proof that nuclear power can be used safely.

But Electricité de France, the utility that operates nuclear plants in France, is 85% owned by the French government. AREVA, the company that builds nuclear power plants in France, is 90% owned by the French government.

And of course, the Navy is 100% owned by the U.S. government.

I can't imagine that conservatives are so gung ho for nuclear power that they would actually run nuclear power plants they way they are run in France in in the Navy.


Posted by: SteveT on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Bipartisan defined:

One the one side of the bipartisan fence, we have Lindsay Graham's friends at Energy, Inc.---violently raping the common citizen.

On the other side of the fence, we have Lindsay Graham, drooling over the live-action pornography---while holding out both hands for his uber-cash payola.

Posted by: S. Waybright on January 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yea that's right senators and congresspeople stick your heads up your ass. We all know that doing nothing is always more preferable to doing something. You might piss someone off if you actually do something. What a bunch of spineless jellyfish.

Posted by: Gandalf on January 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

SteveT wrote: "I can't imagine that conservatives are so gung ho for nuclear power"

"Conservatives" are gung ho for whatever the corporate-sponsored propaganda of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tells them to be gung ho for.

It has nothing to do with any actual principles or ideology.

The only actual content of the fake, phony, trumped-up, Madison-Avenue-scripted, focus-group-tested pseudo-ideology of "conservatism" is (1) hatred of "liberals" and (2) slavish obedience to any and all corporate propaganda that is branded "Conservative".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Since Democrats have only a slim 59-41 supermajority in the Senate, they should fire Se. Reid and let Sen. Graham be majority leader so he can decide what is "dead" and what is "alive".

That would make this whole painful process much easier.

Posted by: Ohioan on January 27, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

More change I can't believe in. Mind numbing, f'in wimps in the WH. Pres. is really disappointing me.

Posted by: JM on January 27, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, the "Fierce Urgency of....sometime in the future."

Seems like every initiative that actually will help people keeps getting "more modest" to keep the neo-feudalists happy and fat.

America...is failing. Quickly.

Posted by: terraformer on January 27, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is with the TRADE part.

Wall Street already has shown us how feckless they are. Why would we want them to trade carbon credits?

Just a goofy idea thrown at us by the marketeers, so that they can suck off the teats of "being green."

Sheesh.

To reduce carbon emmissions will take cajones, bg ones.

So far, I haven't seen anybody with the cajones to embrace a real carbon-fuel free world. We hem around the bush, conning ourselves into thinking that pandering to the fossil-fuel industry is the way to reduce our carbon footprint.

Look at ethanol. Hardly carbon-neutral.

I would like to see a green energy summit out of the SOTU, one in which jobs=sustainable energy get a fair shake. Time for BOLD measures that put us on a trajectory to be living okay 50 years from now.

Our youth have some terrific ideas.

F**k cap and trade.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 27, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK
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