The Dernogalizer

May 15, 2009

Waxman-Markey Bill (tentative)Verdict

I’ve been doing a lot of blogging, about the Waxman-Markey climate change bill in Congress.  There have been a few new changes and compromises made which weaken the bill.  The main changes to me are that the 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 target was weakened to 17%, and the Renewable Energy Standard was dropped from 25% by 2025 to 20% by 2020 with 5% allowed to come from energy efficiency.  The long term targets are intact.  My opinion of the bill both before these compromises and now after is that it’s a mediocre climate bill that needs to be strengthened.  I still feel this way, however after reading a report by the World Resources Institute, I am cautiously more optimistic.  

Although the targets of the bill are as I said above, the complementary energy efficiency standard and renewable electricity standard, and a slashing of energy use in new buildings by 50% by 2015 are NOT factored into the 202 target.  We are planning on hitting the 2020 target solely with the climate bill.  The energy bill provisions tied to it are a completely different ballgame!  *smacks head for not seeing this sooner*  Combined with the targeted reductions set in the cap and trade bill, along with the renewable energy and efficiency provisions(and you can find this on Pg 3 of the report I linked), we are projected to hit a reduction of 31% below 2005 levels by 2020.  Additionally, if(and it’s a big IF) you assume that the offsets are going to work, be legitimate and verifiable, the projection is we hit 38% below 2005 levels by 2020.  These targets are equivalent to a 20% and 28% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020, respectively.  

It’s worth noting these projections, I believe were before the energy provisions were weakened.  Still, I think that we are too caught up in the cap and trade provisions of this bill.  The energy portions can achieve substantial reductions if we follow through on them.  The bill might still not follow what the science demands to avert catastrophe, but it certainly gets the ball rolling, and I have confidence we can strengthen it in future years, as well as pass stronger energy provisions around the country(which we already have in some places) to pick up some of the slack.

I’m not overjoyed with this bill, and it has been weakened in some ways.  However, I recognize that politically, this is probably the strongest bill that could pass out of this committee, and stand a chance when it gets to the Senate.  As of right now(I still want to see the final version), I lend my support to the Waxman-Market climate bill.  In order to finish, you have to start.

**Update 5/16/09**  Full bill is now available with a number(H.R. 2454), and permit allocations are an 85% giveaway I believe.  David Roberts of Grist has good analysis.

**Update 5/18/09**  Economist Paul Krugman has his own insight on Waxman-Markey which lines up along the lines of mine.

**Update 5/22/09**  Here is any updated analysis by WRI which takes into account newer changes in the bill.


  1. […] we have a game.  Now we’re within striking distance of a global treaty.  We need to pass Waxman-Markey, at least in its current for if we can’t make it stronger which I would of course support. […]

    Pingback by US-China Climate Deal!?!?! « The Dernogalizer — May 19, 2009 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  2. […] the debate of the Waxman-Markey climate bill continues today.  It’s looking like a very long, slow process, with the […]

    Pingback by Climate Bill Update « The Dernogalizer — May 20, 2009 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  3. […] as I’ve written before, I support the Markey-Waxman climate bill.  I would much rather have it than nothing, and […]

    Pingback by Direct Action in Congress « The Dernogalizer — May 21, 2009 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  4. […] of the bill is recognized through the energy and offset portions of the bill, as I mention here, then the numbers get closer to something that can make for a strong treaty.  What impressed me […]

    Pingback by The Global Treaty Landscape « The Dernogalizer — June 2, 2009 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: