Friday, January 19, 2007

Climate Change in Washington

The word is that our future former president is planning to include mention of climate change next week, which puts him in line right behind scientists, religious leaders and, yes, energy executives.
As the New York Times reports,
the congressional agenda is getting crowded with bills (and press conferences) on global warming:
On Wednesday, leading scientists and evangelical pastors jointly declared their intention to fight the causes of climate change and the public confusion on the subject. Cheryl Johns, a professor at the Church of God Theological Seminary, called that problem “nature deficit disorder.”
Another news conference on Wednesday featured executives of the heavily regulated electric utility industry embracing Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, both Democrats. The senators were offering separate bills to add regulations, including a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.
The Times reports that business leaders are determined to play a role in creating policy to limit carbon emissions:
Ten major companies with operations across the economy — utilities, manufacturing, petroleum, chemicals and financial services — have banded together with leading environmental groups to call for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years.
One way to start to change the enormous effect energy use has on the earth's climate is to stop subsidizing the activities that create the greatest carbon emissions. Which, as the Washington Post reports, is precisely what the House voted to do yesterday:
The measure passed yesterday would repeal a tax break oil and gas firms received in 2004 that effectively lowered their corporate tax rates. It would also bar oil companies from bidding on new federal leases unless they pay a fee on or renegotiated improperly drafted leases from 1998 and 1999 that did not require royalty payments on Gulf of Mexico production. And the bill would take the estimated $13 billion to $15 billion in revenues over a five-year period and set the money aside for tax breaks and appropriations that would go to renewable energy sources.
I've never grasped the logic of subsidizing energy companies for doing what they've been doing, and very profitably, for more than a century. When asked about ending the subsidies for oil and gas companies, BushCo's policy wizards in OMB responded by saying the bill was based on a "tax and spend philosophy."
The bill passed 264 to 163, with 36 Republicans joining the Democratic majority.

2 Comments:

Blogger Chucky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:13 PM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Chucky said...

Let's hope that it's true! I've been reading a lot of blogs about it, because I'm setting it up on website where Is global warming manmade? is the debate of the week (plug plug). Mostly they're all pessimistic. It's nice to read one which has some good news for a change.

1:16 PM, January 19, 2007  

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