Politics

U.S. House approves toned-down energy bill, Bush to sign it tomorrow

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a toned-down version of an energy bill that will boost fuel-economy requirements for cars and light trucks to …

Pity our poor customers

Coal utilities weigh in on the carbon policy

Something old, something new, something borrowed ... For years, utilities have blurred the line between their interests and those of their customers (which are, under the rules of cost-plus rate-making, precisely opposed). Typically, this argument is used to frame rate cases in the form of, "if we can't raise rates on customer X, we'll be forced to raise rates on customer Y. Let us tell you how tragic that would be from customer Y's perspective, to cloud the fact that we're asking to increase rates on customer X." I'm oversimplifying, but only just. Ameren is now applying this old idea to carbon policy, saying that the problem isn't what carbon policy will do to their shareholders (perish the thought!), but what it will do to their customers. Article from Restructuring Today ($ub req'd) below the fold:

Sen. Domenici tries again to boost loan guarantees for nuclear power plants

The multifaceted appropriations bill making its way through the Senate contains language that would raise the limits on loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants. …

Belated Bali blogging

An incomplete roundup of reactions and commentary to the Bali climate meetings

I feel somewhat guilty for not following the goings-on in Bali more closely. A few of you have written to ask why. It’s just that …

Nominee for federal fossil-energy secretary has strong ties to Big Coal

From 2001 to 2003, Stanley Suboleski was chief operating officer of mining company Massey Energy, which faces $2.4 billion in fines for more than 4,000 …

Sen. Joe Lieberman endorses Sen. John McCain for president

Used-to-be-Democrat-but-now-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) has angered Democrats by endorsing Republican Sen. John McCain for president. The two men have similar views on the war …

The U.S. Congress, always willing to be shilling

The terrible omnibus bill

Rumors began circulating late last Friday -- as the Senate was passing the much-weakened energy bill -- that some terrible provisions had made their way into the omnibus spending package, which will likely face votes in both bodies by the end of the week. Now comes word from Friends of the Earth that "the omnibus spending bill expected to come before the House of Representatives tonight and the Senate tomorrow directs $20.5 billion in loan guarantees to nuclear power and $8 billion to the coal industry, with language that includes potential subsidies for the production of coal-to-liquid fuels."

Why did Dems bargain down the energy bill?

Lots of people wonder why Reid and Senate Democrats were so willing, almost eager, to bargain the energy bill down to the point where it …

Where do we go from here?

The Bali meeting, and the lessons learned

It's important, this time, to draw conclusions, and to do so publicly. Because Bali has taken us -- barely and painfully -- over a line and into a new and even more difficult level in the climate game we'll be playing for the rest of our lives. In fact, it's not too much to say that, with the realizations of the last year and their culmination at the 13th Conference of Parties, the game has, finally, belatedly, begun in earnest. First up, we knew going into Bali that if the old routine continued without variation, we'd really be in trouble. The timing of this meeting alone made this clear. Here we were, after the skeptics, after the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, after Gore's (and the IPCC's) Nobel Prize. We know now how grave the situation is. So it's with great relief that I'm able to say that, judging at least by Bali, the game has indeed changed -- except, of course, for the United States.