Climate bill up for a vote

Looks like the House leadership is taking its chances on a vote on Waxman-Markey’s climate bill today or tomorrow, despite some uncertainty about the outcome.   And not all environmentalists are hoping for a victory — in addition to worries about biofuel lifecycle emissions that Jonathan discussed earlier, there’s concern over the recent deal Waxman and Markey struck with the Agricultural Committee to relocate the power to regulate farm and forestry offsets from EPA to the Dept of Ag — which has not, historically, seen its mission as conservation.  See this Greenwire story (sub. req’d), quoting our law colleague Michael Wara of Stanford and others about their concern over the new offsets provision:

The provisions unveiled yesterday rely too heavily on clean-energy projects in the agriculture and forestry sector with an unproven record in curbing greenhouse gases, they say. Others argue that the language is too vague to guarantee that the federal government will be a competent emissions watchdog with offsets from forests and farms.

“This language is a bad development if you care about stopping global warming,” said Michael Wara, a law professor at Stanford University.

. . . 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to control offsets from forest and farms, rather than U.S. EPA. The adjusted measure calls for the creation of an “advisory” committee with nine members, including two appointed by the USDA secretary, to “provide scientific and technical advice” on governing them.

The new text outlines the exact types of agricultural offsets eligible under a cap-and-trade program. The list now include everything from “manure management and disposal” to “urban tree planting” to “reduction in the frequency and duration of flooding of rice paddies.”

More and more, the decision whether to support ACES in its current form is coming down to a calculation about its impact at the Copenhagen talks in December.  Despite its flaws, is it enough to spur the types of international commitments we think we need? 

Fingers crossed for the afternoon and, if it passes, beyond…

Reader Comments

3 Replies to “Climate bill up for a vote”

  1. EPA Suppressing Report That Questions Global Warming

    June 26, 2009
    By: Phil Brennan

    The Environmental Protection Agency is stifling a report hostile to the agency’s global warming agenda, a free-enterprise group revealed.

    The EPA is keeping the report under wraps and silencing its author because the Obama administration is pressuring it to support carbon dioxide regulations, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.

    The suppressed report warns that the EPA’s adoption of the United Nations’ 2007 “Fourth Assessment” means that it is relying on outdated research and ignoring major new developments on the issue of climate change.

    The enterprise institute, which released the report by analyst and economist/physicist Alan Carlin, explained that those new developments include the continued decline in global temperatures, a new consensus that hurricanes will not be more frequent or intense, and new findings that water vapor will moderate, rather than exacerbate, temperature.

  2. Its amazing how much traction this EPA story has received and how distorted the story put forth by the Enterprise Institute is than the real thing.
    The worst thing you can say about this story is that among a large group of scientific and EPA officials, a majority opinion was chosen from a few dissenting opinions. That’s how science and public policy works. This isnt a cover up. But it isn’t the simple scenario just described either. Alan carlin wasn’t one of the many scientists asked to work on this report. Probably because he wasn’t a climate scientists and this wasn’t his area of expertise. However, Alan Carlin did have an agenda and that was to apparently introduce doubt about data and science that have been long since established, while throwing in some cherry about how temp are actually going down– he didn’t cite the sicentists who took those measurements, how much they went down, where the went down or if there was any other reasoble explanation for such a thing to happen.
    Despite all of this the EPA ACTUALLY LISTENED TO HIM AND TOOK THE TIME TO RESPOND and address the points he raised. But that didn’t accomlish his agenda and nothing says “I am doing this for the good of science like handing over materials to the enterprise institute.”

    the lesson here Mr. coody is that the bush EPA didn’t waste time with scientific studies and written reports. the wht house just edited the reports to reflect favorably on their agenda. congress never exercised its oversight authourity to ask why bush was turning back rules that protected our air, water, and land for 50 years. It was just business as usual. So if you have spent the past 8 years screaming your head off at the complete subservification of the EPA the to cheney, find push for more transparency. If you just thing climate change legislation is bad for you, and not wanting to be alone want to try to convince others its a bad idea……. do it somewhere else than this blog. You can drink the water out of your tap, eat the beef and vegtables grown in american fields, and breathe the air because of the environmental law movement.

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

READ more