The Dernogalizer

March 31, 2009

Democrats Release Climate Bill

Filed under: Climate Change — Matt Dernoga @ 7:33 pm
Tags: ,




I told you a climate bill was coming this year! The climate bill which Congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey have been drafting has been released today for all of us to look at. The bill calls for cutting emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. It also creates a 25% renewable energy electricity standard by 2025. There’s a very good overview of the contents of the bill, as well as the political hurdles it will have to pass. There are a few parts of the bill and political process I would like to note, and then I’ll give my take on what I think.

“Waxman and Markey have a 36-23 advantage over Republicans in their committee, meaning the chairman can only lose votes from six members of his own party and still pass the bill, absent surprise GOP defections. Committee Democrats represent a cross section of regional interests, including coastal state members who prefer aggressive environmental limits for global warming and moderate and conservative lawmakers who prefer proposals that take into account their local industries.”

This is where it gets tricky. Assuming no Republicans come on board, this 6 vote margin means these Democrats in the more conservative districts are the real power players on this committee. They’re going to be angling for whatever concessions and weakening amendments they can get. While most if not all of them support the principle of a climate bill, I’m not sure how many are willing to support a bill with some actual teeth.

“But the measure does take a stab at how to assist industries considered most vulnerable to international competition, such as iron and steel, aluminum, cement, glass, ceramics, chemicals and paper. In a separate title — “Transitioning to a Clean Energy Economy” — the Democratic committee leaders incorporated a proposal from Reps. Jay Inslee of Washington and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania that would set aside a certain number of allowances for industrial sectors as determined by U.S. EPA.”

I understand why this concession might need to be made in order to lighten the lobbying from these groups against the bill. However, the entire notion that regulating these industries emissions will cause them to flee overseas is a false one. I just take a look at who we think we’re protecting, and see all these manufacturers of products that solar panels and wind turbines are made of and I think…hmmmm maybe you want a strong bill that pushes these technologies so that you have more business.

Other than that, the bill has a lot of the good old things like energy efficiency, low carbon fuels, funding for plug-in hybrids and their infrastructure, a smart energy grid…and it also has some of the usual culprits like funding for clean coal and too many offsets.

My current verdict: I think that Waxman and Markey should have put forth a stronger climate bill that had no concessions and had targets that follow the science by calling for a 25% cut below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. I am a realist, I realize that this kind a climate bill is not politically feasible, but my perspective is that you should start with the strongest bill possible, and then make concessions down to the limit of what you’re willing to support. Instead of introducing a very strong climate bill, Waxman and Markey put forth an average one at best. Now they’ll have to hold the line on it, because if it gets much weaker I would consider it a bust.

I also want to take this chance to put in a plug for an event occurring in Maryland. My Congressman is Steny Hoyer, who also happens to be the House Majority Leader, making him one of the most powerful politicians in the country. He is going to be responsible for rallying the conservative Democrats on that committee and on the House floor to support a strong climate bill. On Monday May 11th from 6:30 to 8 pm, Steny Hoyer will be attending the University of Maryland campus to participate in a Clean Energy Town Hall Meeting. The room location is to be determined shortly. This climate bill that Markey and Waxman have introduced is going to be marked up and written in the month of May. It’s Waxman’s goal to have the bill out of committee by Memorial Day. This is probably the best chance for all of us in Maryland and in Hoyer’s district to influence what this bill is going to look like. Contact me if you’re interested in going at

Don’t miss it for the world.

**Update 5/11/09** Here is a clearer and more in depth summary of the Waxman-Markey draft bill


  1. […] Cross Posted from: HERE […]

    Pingback by Democrats Release Climate Bill | CCAN Blog — March 31, 2009 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  2. […] made a post a couple weeks ago about how House Democrats Waxman and Markey had introduced a comprehensive draft […]

    Pingback by Cap and Dividend « The Dernogalizer — April 9, 2009 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  3. […] made a post a couple of weeks ago about how House Democrats had introduced a climate bill.  I also stressed at […]

    Pingback by Steny Hoyer « The Dernogalizer — April 11, 2009 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  4. […]  Businesses are saying this, not just environmentalists.  This ad is being shown because the climate bill is being heavily debated in Washington, and in a little over a month, the noise will be deafening. […]

    Pingback by Great Green Jobs Ad « The Dernogalizer — April 16, 2009 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  5. […] there is a climate bill being considered in Congress right now, which you can read more about here.  I think the people should have a say too.  Google your Congressman’s name, and give their […]

    Pingback by Action Alert: Over 2,000 in DC Tmo and Friday « The Dernogalizer — April 22, 2009 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  6. […] been blogging consistently about the climate bill written by Congressmen Markey and Waxman which is being […]

    Pingback by Obama Should Play Hardball « The Dernogalizer — April 25, 2009 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  7. […] been blogging consistently about the climate bill written by Congressmen Markey and Waxman which is being […]

    Pingback by Obama Should Play Hardball | CCAN Blog — April 28, 2009 @ 1:04 am | Reply

  8. I dont usually comment, but after reading through so much info I had to say thanks.

    Comment by Dete Ctive — June 2, 2009 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

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