The long awaited tripartisan, er, bipartisan, er, pseudo-bipartisan climate bill, er, energy bill, er, American Power Act is now here!!!
Yes, John Kerry (uber-D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (ex-D, now-I, possibly future-R, CT) rolled out the climate bill that they, along with ex-co-author Lindsey Graham (still-R, SC), have spent the better part of the last year crafting.Â It’s seen some changes since it was first envisioned in the minds of the three horsemen, but rest assured the final version of the draft bill has something for everyone to love, and something for everyone to hate.
Oh, by the way, John Kerry said Lindsey Graham still supports the bill despite his rhetorical gamesmanship of the past couple of weeks, and according to The Hill is expected to issue a statement at some point today.
The official Senator Kerry web page has several useful summaries of the act, including this section-by-section summary.Â For those who are energy policy wonks, you can read the entire 987 page “discussion draft” of the bill here. [NOTE: Do NOT say no one has had a chance to read the bill or that it wasn't available.Â Here it is.Â Start reading.]
According to Senator Kerry, “[t]his bill is supported by a wide and deep coalition of business leaders, environmentalists, political leaders and others.”
Here are some highlights (or lowlights depending on your point of view):
Offshore drilling: States would be allowed to opt out of offshore drilling up to 75 miles from their coast (versus the current limit of 3 miles). States that do allow offshore drilling will receive 37.5% of revenues “to help protect their coastlines and coastal ecosystems.”
Greenhouse gases: GHG emissions would be cut by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and by more than 80% by 2050.
Carbon goes free market: The bill would set a price on carbon, and would set both floor and ceiling rates that would range from $12 per ton of carbon emissions to $25 per ton, adjusted periodically for inflation.
Consumers win!!: Beginning on day one, 2/3 of emissions revenues would be sent back to consumers in the form of energy bill discounts and rebates.
Nuclear wins!?: The clean energy portion heavily emphasizes the development of nuclear power. Funding for nuclear loan guarantees increase to $54 billion.
Transportation mixes!: Transportation gets a lot of clean energy investment. Money (more than $6 billion annually) will be used to improve highway and mass transit effectiveness. And there will be added tax incentives for conversion to clean, natural gas vehicles (a big plus for corporate fleets).Â A point that I’m sure will get some discussion is the fact that while the transportation sector will still be held accountable for emissions reductions, it will not be included in a carbon market.
“Clean Coal”!?: Annual incentives of $2 billion would be put into R&D for carbon capture and sequestration methods, aka, “clean coal.” [Note: the coal isn't any cleaner, but they try to capture and in most cases bury the carbon rather than spew it up into the air.]
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!: Various grants and job training would be included, though not yet detailed, to focus on developing emerging jobs in clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation.
There is more of course.
So, will it work? Will it get passed this year?