Good news: I got three guys to put up a total of $1000 against the bet in my recent post, "Ice, ice, maybe (not)": It is very safe to say the Arctic Sea will be essentially ice free by 2030, and I'd personally bet on 2020 -- any takers? Not-so-good news: The "takers" are not global warming doubters, quite the reverse -- they are three well-known and knowledgeable climate bloggers -- James Annan, William Connolley, and Brian Schmidt -- and James and William are certifiable climate experts. That said, I think I'm going to win this, as I'll explain. I estimate the odds at at least 2 to 1 in my favor -- no, this isn't the same kind of 100-to-1 lock the hydrogen bet is -- though James, William, and Brian have, unintentionally, given me (slightly) better-than-even odds. Let's start with the bet: At no time between now and the end of the year 2020 will the minimum total Arctic Sea ice extent be less than 10 percent of the 1979-2000 average minimum annual Arctic Sea ice extent, as measured by NSIDC data or any other measurement mutually agreed-upon; provided, however, that if two or more volcanic eruptions with the energy level equal to or greater than the 1991 Mount Pinatubo shall occur between now and the end of 2020, then all bets are voided. The 10 percent minimum covers me against straggling ice. I also asked for the two-Pinatubo voiding -- I didn't want to lose this bet if warming is temporarily slowed by an unusual series of big volcanoes. Why will I win?
It seems like C-SPAN only planned to broadcast the first three hours of the markup session. Either way, their coverage ended, which means that for now, so must mine. It looks very much like this bill will be favorably reported out of committee. Expect more commentary throughout the day.
Inhofe amendment No. 13 would require the Commerce Secretary to report annually whether L-W would cost 10,000 automotive jobs in the year to come. It failed. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) amendment No. 1 would cap and ratchet down noncarbon pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Amendment is withdrawn for now.
It sure seemed to me that passage was inevitable, going in. And after I heard Sen. Sanders' new tone, it seemed even more likely that L-W would be passed by the Environment and Public Works committee today. Over at Politico, Ryan Grim points to the first amendment -- the "offramp" amendment -- which failed 11-8: The full Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works appears poised to pass the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill. The first of more than 180 amendments that have been filed dealt with one of the most contentious issues -- whether U.S. legislation would sunset if China and India didn't follow suit. It was seen by both sides as a bellwether of the final vote. It passed 11-8, with Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) joining all nine Democrats -- including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by proxy -- as well as independent Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The committee chairwoman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) warned early that the mark-up, starting today, could go for as long as three days, but passage of this major and controversial legislation through committee now seems inevitable.
Larry Craig amendment No. 24 (out of over 40!) to kill offramp the bill without China's support failed: 8 yeas, 11 nays. Bernard Sanders' amendment No. 2 to create incentives for domestic green-tech industries and manufacturing passed: 12 yeas, 7 nays. (Sen. George Voinovich [R-Ohio], who opposes the bill, voted for the amendment.)
Senators' opening statements are almost always fairly predictable, and, save for Sanders' there were no surprises today. But chair Boxer's opening statement is reprinted below the fold.
To get this thing through today, Lieberman can't afford to lose the support of more than one Democrat. At the end of the subcommittee process, after watching almost all of his amendments killed, Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. His no vote was offset, though, by an affirmative vote by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Today, that may change. During his opening statements, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who has a strong environmental record, gushed over ACSA, and Sanders himself called the legislation a "major step forward." "I want to thank Senators Boxer, Lieberman, and Warner for revising the bill," Sanders said, for changing the language in the bill to make sure that $300 billion in auction revenue is dedicated to sustainable energy. Sanders has brought more amendments with him today, and I can't say for sure that I know how he'll vote. But he is a bellwether. And if his opening statement is any indication, Lieberman-Warner has a really good shot of making it to the Senate floor.
David is correct here. The Republicans desperately want to turn this markup session into a long, boring circus. They've come armed with about 150 amendments, dozens of which will come to a vote, almost all of which will be defeated. Here, via Hill Heat, are just a few doozies: Vitter proposed 14 amendments: Amendments 1 and 5 allow offshore and on-land natural gas drilling, respectively Amendments 2 and 3 require studies on industry displacement Amendment 4 allows renewable fuel program credits to qualify as emissions credits Amendments 6 and 9 removes various sources from coverage Amendment 7 removes injury liability from CCS activities Amendment 8 prevents implementation if other environmental regulations are found to be adversely impacted Amendment 10 restricts permit banking to 18 months on non-covered entities (a change requested by the AFL-CIO) Amendment 11 modifies transportation fuel coverage Amendments 12-14 make "technical" corrections ... Isakson proposed four amendments, three of which support nuclear energy. Amendment 3 prohibits the enactment of a cap without sufficient known technology, an amendment which failed in subcommittee ... Inhofe proposed approximately 45 amendments, some of which are joke amendments (#12 "directs 20% of all auction proceeds be used to build homeless shelters for families without shelter as a result of job displacement due to this Act"). Amendments #23-#28 are pro-nuclear. Amendment #32 increases the auction percentage to 100% by 2029. Amendment #38 overrides the Massachusetts vs. EPA decision. The Democrats, by contrast, will propose about 30 amendments, many of which would drastically improve America's Climate Security Act. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed similar versions of some of these way back when the legislation was marked up in subcommittee. Back then, Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) reflexively killed all of them. I sort of doubt that's changed, but we'll see ...
Many political observers — those, at least, not wholly gutted by cynicism after eight years of criminally negligent Republican leadership — wonder when public concern over global warming will prompt a serious, thoughtful conservative response. Those hoping for real solutions from the GOP political leadership may have a long time to wait, but some conservative thinkers are beginning to wrestle with warming in an intellectually honest, if mistaken, manner. Over at The American Scene, one of the best sources for quality conservative writing around, Jim Manzi recently laid out a detailed argument against a carbon tax. It’s worth noting that …