There’s a growing tension between the subsidy-happy proclivities of Congress and its self-imposed mandate to reduce carbon emissions. You just can’t spend all the available federal dollars on ethanol and CTL and expect to reduce emissions.

Bills like this one, introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), are going to bring that tension to a head:

A bill about to be introduced in the Senate would push utilities to generate drastically more of their power — 15%, compared with the current 2% — from sources such as wind or the sun by 2020. While three similar measures have died after passing the Senate, this one has powerful bipartisan support.

Here’s the key: the bill mandates renewable sources, and by renewable Bingaman really seems to mean renewable, not "alternative." Naturally this drives the bought-and-paid-for Congresscritters from dirty-energy states nuts. They, says the WSJ with a straight face, "say carbon-dioxide emissions … could be reduced more effectively by getting more power from nuclear plants and coal-fired plants that bury their carbon-dioxide emissions." Yeah.

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Kevin Drum puts it well:

What are we going to do? Grant billions of dollars of subsidies to CL technology and then drive them all out of business with a carbon tax? That’s some great policymaking there.

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Jeebus. Are the electoral votes in Montana and West Virginia that important? What am I missing here?

Money. Money money money. Money and entrenched power. But mostly money.