Mixed Reaction Greets Kerry-Lieberman Carbon Rationing Discussion Draft

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Climate shakedown

As promised, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (CFl-Conn.) have issued a draft discussion version of their American Power Act which aims to ration carbon dioxide emissions to limit man-made global warming and transform the U.S. energy economy. The modified cap-and-trade bill is 987 pages in length. Reactions are mixed.

The Center for American Progress (the left-leaning non-partisan D.C.-based think tank that thinks no thoughts other than those approved by the Obama administration) praises it:

"The Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act jump-starts such efforts to adopt comprehensive clean energy and climate polices that would cut oil use, increase security, reduce pollution, and create jobs. For all working families across the United States—from fishermen in the gulf to our farmers in the heartland—this bill provides real benefits for real Americans.

"The American Power Act reflects Sens. Kerry and Lieberman's tremendous leadership and perseverance. This bill would truly reduce oil use, cut carbon pollution, invest in efficiency and clean energy technologies that create jobs, and protect consumers' wallets. It is now incumbent upon President Obama and Senate leaders to bring together senators to craft and pass a comprehensive clean energy program that achieves its goals."

The United Steelworkers Union is provisionally happy with the protectionist aspects of the bill:

"Energy-intensive, trade-exposed manufactured products will be more heavily impacted by a carbon price than others—and while this can be mitigated long-term by improvements in efficiency and cleaner processes—this will take time and requires the right combination of adopted policies.  In the meantime, these industries could potentially face decimation and massive job loss at the hands of foreign competitors that do not face similar carbon costs, unless both a short-term and long-term program is put in place to ensure the cost disadvantage faced by US manufacturers is eliminated….

"The USW is pleased that U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have included a variety of key provisions in their discussion draft of the American Power Act, including the crucial anti-leakage provisions. 

On the other hand, the Center for Biological Diversity (a good stand-in for the conservationist wing of the environmentalist movement) decries the bill as a "disaster for climate" and denounces it as a corporate giveaway:

The climate proposal put forth today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman represents a disaster for our climate and planet. This proposal moves us one baby step forward and at least three giant steps back in any rational effort to address the climate crisis.

Most industry groups are holding their fire until they can analyze the provisions. My uncharitable thought is that most industries are trying figure out how many goodies are in the bill for them before deciding on whether or not to support it.

The GOP is still against it. Sen. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who has been the Republican point man on energy and climate lately, issued this statement:

"Whether you want to call it spin or rebranding, the American Power Act introduced today by Sens. Kerry and Lieberman is barely better than last year's House-passed cap-and-tax legislation, despite their claims that this is a new approach to the climate bill.

"Both Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman have the same proposed cap on U.S. carbon emissions. Both measures include provisions that will raise the cost of carbon emissions on industry, and thus, the cost of energy. This amounts to a hidden tax on energy that every consumer will pay.

"Despite what the authors say, there's both a cap and a tax in this bill, and it will hurt the U.S. economy. Americans need Congress to set an energy policy that focuses on developing new technology, improving energy efficiency and maximizing domestic energy production, not one that sets unrealistic goals and levies unaffordable taxes."

Not having had time yet to analyze 987 pages of proposed legislation, it is still the case that what government is likely to do about global warming will be worse than global warming.

Update: Friends of the Earth hates Kerry-Lieberman:

Unfortunately, it's as bad as we feared. Summaries of the proposal released this morning indicate they would eliminate critical tools needed to stabilize climate chaos while handing out billions in giveaways to some of the worst industrial polluters in the country.