The Dernogalizer

June 24, 2009

Deal Reached on Climate Bill

I made a post about how Nancy Pelosi had decided to move the Waxman-Markey bill to the floor for a vote this Friday without a deal made with Agriculture Democrats so that they would support the bill.  This was seen as rolling the dice.  So when a deal was finally sealed today and the Agriculture Democrats announced they would support the bill, it couldn’t have come sooner.  Here is the article describing the deal.  So to sum up the concessions I’m aware of that were made:

1.  0.5% of the permits allocated were redirected to rural-electric cooperatives to help them deal with the effects of the bill

2.  The USDA will oversee the agriculture offsets instead of the EPA, which does raise some offset integrity concerns that the Obama Administration or the Senate will need to shore up.

3.  The EPA needs to study their “indirect land use” provision for another 5 years before making a decision.  The point of the provisions was to calculate the effect a farmer in the US growing corn or soybeans for ethanol, which raises the price, which can cause deforestation in another country where farmers cut down trees to grow these crops to make money.  This also raises some scientific integrity questions, although the point can be made that the EPA as far as I know didn’t know how in the world it was going to calculate this anyways, and needed time to figure it out.  Now they have 5 years.  It’s also worth noting the bill has aggressive provisions on preventing international deforestation.

My thoughts are these concessions are small in the grand scheme of what the bill is designed to do.  I rated it at a C+ before.  At the most, it’s been downgraded to a C.  The main concern of these concessions is the agricultural offsets, and we will have to see what the Senate and the Obama adminstration does with that.

So to sum up, my column on Waxman-Markey still stands.  It’s not as good as Waxman or Obama says.  It’s not as bad as environmentalists say.  It’s very important we pass this bill.  I will continue pushing for it to be strengthened, and passed.  You should do the same.

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3 Comments »

  1. […] Original post by Matt Dernoga […]

    Pingback by Deal Reached on Climate Bill — June 24, 2009 @ 1:30 am | Reply

  2. Woah, are you mistaken about giving away indirect land use. This piece of mischief assures five years of burning biofuels many of which significantly increase global warming while pretending that they are helping. It also trashes Obama’s explicit promise that science would guide policy. It’s quite consequential for climate, not just a piece of specialist arcana, and sets a really catastrophic precedent. Intellectually, it’s right up there with requiring the Fed to set interest rates without calculating the effects of its policies on employment.

    Comment by Michael O'Hare — June 24, 2009 @ 1:41 am | Reply

    • Hey Michael, I never endorsed nixing the indirect land use provision in my blog post. In fact, when I lobbied on Capitol Hill, it was one of the the things I stated I wanted kept. The reality though is that 15 billion gallons worth of corn-ethanol were already being “grandfathered in” under the provision as it was before it got nixed. This means we only would’ve been able to calculate the life cycle emissions of future production, and I don’t think we’re going to get much more ethanol out of our corn(it’s already near maxed out). Also, as I said The EPA was going to take some time to figure out how to do this anyways. My point being this is not a 5 year delay. Scientifically, the EPA was going to take a few years in figuring out how to calculate indirect land use, which can get very complicated. Government moves slow.

      Meanwhile, while we’re punting this issue 5 years down the road, the bill has provisions in it to prevent more deforestation than delaying calculating indirect land use for five years will cost us.

      As I said in the post NOT IDEAL, but not a reason to suddenly oppose a bill which will do more good for preventing deforestation than bad, and as a whole do a lot more good than harm.

      Comment by Matt Dernoga — June 24, 2009 @ 1:52 am | Reply


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