In these difficult economic times, cap and trade couldn’t survive. Wall Street, massive industry opposition, and political polarization were among the leading factors that killed the bill by Waxman and Markey. Now what?
Senators Cantwell and Collins have proposed a 39-page plan called “cap and dividend.” It’s very similar to what Obama discussed during his campaign and would auction 100 percent of pollution permits to producers and fossil fuel wholesalers and return three-quarters of revenue to consumers for high energy costs. Not bad.
Additionally, Senators Kerry and Graham are working on a new bill. According to The New York Times, it would:
include a cap on greenhouse gas emissions only for utilities, at least at first, with other industries phased in perhaps years later. It is also said to include a modest tax on gasoline, diesel fuel and aviation fuel, accompanied by new incentives for oil and gas drilling, nuclear power plant construction, carbon capture and storage, and renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
I’ll be following the energy policy discussion as it continues with great interest. What do you want to see in the bill?
It wasn’t for nothing that I asked these questions yesterday (and some of the responses were very helpful). Over at the Science Progress blog, I’ve now done a full piece about what happened in science in 2009, which includes observations like these:
It was a year of complete U-turns in science policy. President Barack Obama reversed George W. Bush’s dramatic restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, and the first 13 new stem cell lines were approved for federally funded research since 2001. Meanwhile, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency moved to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, finding that they do indeed endanger the public.
It was also the year of the first-ever passage, by a 219-212 margin in the U.S. House of Representatives, of a cap-and-trade bill that would cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions—but not the year for any parallel action in the U.S. Senate.
It was the year that everyone seemed to own an iPhone and use the word “app” in regular conversation. It was the year Twitter went from being a mere annoyance to the epitome of web-based communication.
It was a year that saw the very first Nobel laureate scientist assume a cabinet position, in the figure of U.S. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu.
It was the year of….many, many, many other things, some funny, some outrageous, some profound. Read here for the whole list, and leave comments about anything you think may have been left out!