In his Sept. 22 U.N. speech President Obama got it right: the battle to arrest calamitous climate change can be won only if each of us enlists, perseveres, and fights “for every inch of progress.”
It is, therefore, critical that the nation not embark on that battle with one hand tied behind our collective back.
During the long years of federal inaction, California and several other states forged ahead by enacting a range of policies aimed at restricting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Now, in fits and starts, Congress is moving to create a meaningful federal program. To do that, the government should build upon and encourage state innovation. And yet, absent amendment, central features of the Waxman-Markey clean energy measure — which passed the House on June 26 — would undermine the climate benefits of state climate action. Now it is up to the Senate to avert that absurd result.
The problem is this: When no meaningful cap on emissions exists, initiatives that replace fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy generation or conservation work to reduce GHG emissions. But under the House’s cap-and-trade scheme, where polluters ... Read more