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Cap-and-trade legislation to limit U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has “gotten out of control” and needs to be scaled back in Congress, said former Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth.
“The Republicans are right -- it’s a cap-and-tax bill,” Wirth, a climate-change negotiator during President Bill Clinton’s administration, said in an Aug. 14 interview. “That’s what it is because they are raising revenue to do all sorts of things, especially to take care of the coal industry, and it makes no sense.”
“I’m not critical of cap-and-trade,” said Wirth, head of the UN Foundation, a philanthropy established in 1998 with $1 billion from Ted Turner, founder of the CNN cable network. “But it has to be used in a targeted and disciplined way, and what has happened is it’s gotten out of control.”
Wirth, who represented Colorado in the Senate, says the House-passed plan is “too broad across the economy.” Instead of capping carbon pollution generally, the measure should focus solely on coal-fired power plants, he said.
Originally posted by jdub297
The Senate remains under pressure to pass a cap-and-trade bill because failure to act would leave regulation of carbon emissions in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has asserted its right to do so, according to Nikki Roy, who monitors Congress for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia.
The Environmental Protection Agency will reopen the possibility of regulating carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, tossing aside a December Bush administration memorandum that declared that the agency would not limit the emissions.
The decision could mark the first step toward placing limits on greenhouse gases emitted by coal plants, ...
In Europe, energy prices have skyrocketed, economic competitiveness has drained away, many jobs have been lost and investment has gone elsewhere. Worse still, Europe's carbon emissions have increased.
To avoid burdening its economies with high costs, the European Union issued carbon permits to some politically connected companies at no charge. The companies then sold their permits to other businesses at a huge profit. The result was that those companies had no incentive to develop technologies for controlling emissions, such as carbon capture-and-storage. Yet they went ahead anyway and raised fuel and electricity prices.
Yet in Europe, which created the world’s largest greenhouse gas market three years ago, early evidence suggests the whole approach could fail. Carbon dioxide emissions are still rising in many industries, not falling.
“We currently are in danger of losing yet another decade in the fight against global warming,” said Hugo Robinson of Open Europe, a research group in London.
This week, the European Environment Agency reported that emissions from factories and plants that trade pollution permits rose 0.4 percent in 2006 over the previous year, and 0.7 percent in 2007, the first two years of the system’s operations.
In the 1960s, a University of Wisconsin graduate student named Thomas Crocker came up with a novel solution for environmental problems: cap emissions of pollutants and then let firms trade permits that allow them to pollute within those limits.
When he was a graduate student in the 1960s working to reduce pollutants, Thomas Crocker devised a cap-and-trade system similar to one being considered in Congress.
Now legislation using cap-and-trade to limit greenhouse gases is working its way through Congress and could become the law of the land. But Mr. Crocker and other pioneers of the concept are doubtful about its chances of success. They aren't abandoning efforts to curb emissions. But they are tiptoeing away from an idea they devised decades ago, doubting it can work on the grand scale now envisioned.
"I'm skeptical that cap-and-trade is the most effective way to go about regulating carbon," says Mr. Crocker, 73 years old, a retired economist in Centennial, Wyo. He says he prefers an outright tax on emissions because it would be easier to enforce and provide needed flexibility to deal with the problem.
The EPA was established in response to public concern about unhealthy air, polluted rivers and groundwater, unsafe drinking water, endangered species, and hazardous waste disposal. Responsibilities of the EPA include environmental research, monitoring, and enforcement of legislation regulating environmental activities. The EPA also manages the cleanup of toxic chemical sites as part of a program known as Superfund.
President Nixon called for "a strong, independent agency." The mission of this "Environmental Protection Agency" would be to:
* Establish and enforce environmental protection standards.
* Conduct environmental research.
* Provide assistance to others combatting environmental pollution.
* Assist the CEQ in developing and recommending to the President new policies for environmental protection.