Friday, October 5, 2007
House Democrats on Carbon Controls: Hold the Applause
The House Energy and Commerce Committee just issued a White Paper on carbon controls. To its credit, the report makes a reasonable case for the advantage of using permits rather than taxes as the starting point, but everything else is up in the air. It talks about a target of either 60% or 80% reduction by 2050, when the steeper cut represents the minimum acceptable amount if we are serious about stabilizing at less than 550 ppm. It meanders a bit in its discussion over where the permits should be applied, when the only feasible approach is one that goes after carbon at its point of entry into the economy. And worst of all, it speaks vaguely of “distributing” permits without even raising the possibility that they should be auctioned. It would be interesting to know whether the Democratic policy staff is simply slow to pick up on the ideas the rest of the country is talking about, or whether they think the best chance of surviving an election year is to keep their climate change plans as fuzzy as possible.