One person undoubtedly taking note of the president's "principles" on climate change is Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio. He is reportedly working on his own weak, coal industry-friendly climate amendment to the Lieberman-Warner bill. Voinovich reportedly will try to couple such an amendment with related provisions to weaken the Clean Air Act. Sound familiar?
The carbon tax camp lost a powerful congressional voice yesterday when Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced he was taking "off the table" the hybrid carbon tax proposal he floated last fall that featured a national carbon fee, supplemental increases in taxes on gasoline and aviation fuel, and a reduction in the mortgage interest deduction for super-large houses. In a prepared statement, the Michigan lawmaker, who for much of his 54 years in Congress has chaired the House Energy & Commerce Committee, reiterated that "economists and other experts continue to inform us that a carbon tax is the most effective and efficient way at getting at the problem of global warming." Dingell also noted that his online poll query, "Do you approve of the idea of a carbon tax?," earned a "Yes" from 61 percent of the 2,900 respondents. In his statement, which was first reported yesterday in The Hill, Dingell pointed to rising gas prices and the gathering recession, saying, "Times have changed; our economy has taken a hard downward turn and now is not the time for us to put any additional financial burden on the working families of Michigan or this nation." The irony is that a revenue-neutral carbon tax would not act as a drag on economic activity, since the return of the tax revenues to Americans via tax-shifting or dividend rebates would fully offset the higher costs of fuels and energy.
“So what can one conclude from environmentalists’ insistence that coal be removed from the country’s energy portfolio? That their focus has moved from reducing pollution to abolishing human development and prosperity.” – the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board, exposing the conspiracy once and for all
Here's a roundup of responses to Bush's climate speech. We'll add to it as more come in. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming:"By the time President Bush's plan finally starts to cut global warming emissions, the planet will already be cooked. The President's short-term goal is to do nothing, his medium-term goal is to do nothing much, and his long-term goal is to do nothing close to what's needed to save the planet from global warming." Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.):"I share the President's preference of a market-based approach over carbon taxes. I remain encouraged by EPA's finding last month that the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act will achieve strong results in curbing global warming without imposing economic hardship on Americans. I don't think that the President's statement will have any negative impact on our efforts to attract votes to the Climate Security Act on the Senate floor this June. I remain confident about the prospects of this critical legislation." Sen. John Warner (R-Va.):"The President's announcement today that he supports measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is welcome news as the Senate prepares to consider climate change legislation this summer. This personally delivered message is recognition that a growing problem faces America -- and the world -- caused by erratic fluctuations in climate, particularly temperature variations and rainfall patterns. I am pleased the President is prepared to engage on this vital issue, both on Capitol Hill and on the international stage." National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler:"President Bush has laid out a constructive and balanced set of principles to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 ... We agree with President Bush that Americans deserve an honest and open discussion of climate change solutions by their elected representatives rather than decisions imposed by unelected regulators and judges. However, the primary federal legislation (S. 2191) sponsored by U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) set for debate in Congress would do more economic harm than environmental good. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration on legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions without damaging the economy."
The whole media world is in a frenzy, yet again, over a Bush speech on climate change. A new strategy! An effort to secure a legacy! Exciting new principles and goals! Even my own bosses are pressing me to come up with a thoughtful reaction. Sigh. I hate to be the party-pooper. But we’ve been here before. How many times does Lucy expect us to try to kick this football? Here are the three things you need to know about Bush’s speech — the same three things you needed to know about his previous speeches on the subject: Bush’s speech …
Just over the transom, from the White House: This afternoon the President will deliver a statement in which he sets a new intermediate national goal for stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The President’s announcement comes as this week’s Major Economies Meeting in Paris begins to lay the groundwork for the world leaders’ climate meeting to be held in conjunction with the upcoming G-8 Summit. The President’s remarks will also inform the Senate-scheduled debate on climate change legislation. In addition, the President will emphasize the importance of decisions on climate change regulation being openly debated and made by the …
John McCain has a brilliant, original idea: Let's encourage Americans to drive more by lifting the gas tax for a summer "holiday." Presumably it's the same principle as the "surge" in Iraq: so many soldiers are getting killed, let's send even more! Here are some guaranteed effects from McCain's brainstorm. It would: Deepen the federal deficit, thereby weakening the dollar. Increase gasoline consumption, in one stroke worsening highway gridlock, compounding U.S. oil dependence, and speeding up global warming. Transfer what used to be tax revenue -- potentially usable for public benefit -- to the oil companies and the Saudis by pushing up oil demand. Terrific, eh? McCain could drive to a gas station, perhaps in a jumpsuit with a padded crotch, stand surrounded by Uzi-toting Blackwater thugs while a parade of Hummers top off their tanks, and proclaim Surge II a success.
A group of influential governors will meet this week at Yale University to discuss taking the reins in the fight against climate change. The discussion will center around “blending a set of state efforts, some of which are already up and running, with an emerging federal climate system,” according to Dan Esty, the director of Yale’s Center for Environmental Law and Policy. Those state efforts include three regional climate initiatives, in the Northeast, West, and Midwest. Esty added, “I think we have high hope this will mark a significant turning point in a commitment to action on climate change.” Governors …
Remember how the U.S. EPA was instructed by the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether carbon dioxide should be regulated as a pollutant? And how that was more than a year ago? A senior EPA official said in a speech this week that “given the time frame available to the agency, it’s not realistic” to expect that the EPA will make that decision before the Bush administration ends. Such a bummer that time’s running out, because you know they really wanted to.
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