This is big stuff–and thank goodness the Washington Post still handles global warming well in the news pages, if not on the editorial/op-ed page.
The Obama administration has made an ingenious move: Its soon to be revealed budget relies, for revenue, upon the idea that Congress will pass cap and trade legislation, and this will be bringing big money into the government by 2012. Moreover, the budget commits that money to achieving core administration policy objectives. Or as the Post puts it: “Sources familiar with the document said it would direct $15 billion of that revenue to clean-energy projects, $60 billion to tax credits for lower- and middle-income working families, and additional money to offsetting higher energy costs for families, small businesses and communities.”
So now, if you oppose the coming cap and trade bill, you’re also messing with the president’s attempt to cut the deficit, invest in renewable energy, and give money back to taxpayers. How’s that for smart politics?
Moreover, if the cap-and-trade system is bringing in revenue, that means by definition that there has to be a significant initial auctioning off of the emissions permits. They can’t be simply given away to industry. That, in itself, is also a big statement, because many companies who support cap and trade in theory also want many or most of the permits gratis.
Again, all of this is consistent with Obama’s campaign pledges and position statements–but bear in mind that many of those were drafted and committed to long before the economy fell off a cliff. So what I find so remarkable and impressive is the willingness to stick with them.