Preliminary Peek at the Kerry-Lieberman Carbon Rationing Scheme


Died of asphyxiation because I ran out of carbon credits

The Green Hell blog (slogan: "How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them") has apparently laid hands on a preliminary analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman bill setting out their scheme for national carbon rationing. Dubbed the American Power Act, the bill sets out an overall cap on carbon dioxide emissions which falls to 17 percent below 2005 emissions by 2020, 53 percent by 2030, and eventually cuts emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The emissions permits would be auctioned off by the federal government subject to a gradually rising price floor and ceiling.

The bill divides the economy into three sectors, industry, electric power generation, and transportation. Besides transportatioon, the cap would apply only to facilities that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, about 7,500 factories and power plants. In order to reduce the sting of higher energy prices, the bill promises to rebate some of the auction revenues to consumers by reducing their bills from local electric utilities and eventually throught a direct rebate program.

The bill subsidizes nearly every sector of the energy production, including renewables, nuclear, coal, and gas, as well as subsidies to electrify transportation. The scheme also risks trade wars by setting up countervailing carbon tariffs against countries that do not tax their energy production. The actual provisions are not yet available, but this analysis initially looks like a bit of an improvement on the Rube Goldbergesque carbon rationing horror that the House of Representatives passed last summer.

More details to come when the bill is officially unveiled today. 

Hat tip to H&R commenter Eric Gisin.

NEXT: The Foucault's Pendulum Effect

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  1. I’d like to see total government spending fall to 17% below the 2005 budget by 2020, 53% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. If we can do it, so can they.

    1. I’d like to see congress’ salary fall to 17% below the 2005 figure by 2020, 53% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. If we can do it, so can they.

  2. “looks like a bit of an improvement on the Rube Goldbergesque carbon rationing horror that the House of Representatives passed last summer.”

    Bailey, do you not realize that auctioning is just another form of rationing? If carbon were not the cheapest way to do things, we wouldn’t need to limit emissions. When we limit emissions, we increase the cost of energy and make ourselves poorer. No amount of auction, “let the market decide” hokum changes that.

    1. John: May I suggest you look at the post’s headline? In addition, by saying that Kerry-Lieberman is the lesser of two evils, doesn’t mean that I’m endorsing evil.

      1. Okay Ron. Fair enough.

    2. Did Anyone see Frontline on PBS last night?

      GM, American Electric Power and one other company (I forget) have purchased huge tracts of rain forest in South America as carbon offsets. They own the land and have pledged not to harvest the wood or clear it for farming.

      But they are still evil (according to Frontline) because now the indigenous people can’t harvest the wood or clear it for farming.

      So now saving the rain forest is bad.

      1. Or maybe US law is evil for artificially raising the value of rain forests so that the people who live there can no longer make a living there.

      2. Did Anyone see Frontline on PBS last night?

        Already read “Das Kapital.”

  3. You know, i was just thinking: “Damn, i’m broke, but i sure wish there was some complicated scheme afoot to make my gas and electric bills go up.”

  4. Where is farting on the scheme?

    1. We have you covered, troy. You can already buy one of three levels of offset certificates for “carbon of personal emission” – the GIGB “Fart Offset”!

  5. Where is farting on the scheme?

    $40/liter, payable on April 15th of each year. IRS-monitored sensors will be implanted in every ass to ensure accurate charges.

    1. I can afford that!

    2. So just how big will these implants be? Will there be you know daily physical inspections of them?

    3. Warty and I are going to be broke.

    4. …..and Sugarfree will need the XXXL implant….being so loose and all.

      1. that’s what spackle is for!

  6. God, these kinds of stories give me such a raging hard-on…

    1. Could you stop spoofing Chad? It’s rotten etiquette. And the real thing is much funnier anyway.

      1. Yeah, guys! You’re getting sand in my vagina and stuff, making fun of the trolls!

  7. Hi,

    My name is West Texas Boy and I work in renewable energy and I am a whore.

    It all started years ago when a friend of mine… yadda yadda… I thought I could handle the free money at first, but then…

  8. One would think that these clowns would give this stuff a rest since Climategate broke and the general public’s belief in the man-made global warming fairy tale started declining.

    Istead they want to go for broke and try to jam it through anyway.

    1. Of course they ram it through now. Do you think it would have a snowball’s chance in the next Congress?

      1. It doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in this congress.

        Twenty-six states produce coal. The major coal-producing states are (in descending order as of 2000, with annual production in thousands of short tons):

        Wyoming (338,900).
        West Virginia (158,257)
        Kentucky (130,688)
        Pennsylvania (74,619)
        Texas (49,498)
        Montana (38,352)
        Illinois (33,444)
        Virginia (32,834)
        North Dakota (31,270)
        Colorado (29,137)
        Indiana (27,965)
        New Mexico (27,323)
        Utah (26,656)
        Ohio (22,269)
        Alabama (19,324)
        Arizona (13,111)

        1. Bunch of tea baggin’ racists all of them 🙂

          Seriously, most of the states on the list are solid red – which, while the filibuster is a trump card they can play under the right conditions, are nonetheless still politically marginalized under current political conditions.

          The interesting cases are Virginia and Pennsylvania, (and to a lesser extent Ohio) being large swing states where there is an explicit tension between the urban ‘green’ and the rural coal industry. Right now, the smart money is on the coal industry and workers’ unions being still able to persuade their state senators and their (mostly big D Democratic) US Reps to keep towing the lion, but it’s a close fight.

          1. What do lions have to do with towing the line?

            1. I don’t know, but neither has anything to do with toeing the line.

  9. So the “International Reserve Allowance” bullshit is supposed to keep companies from sourcing all their manufacturing outside the reach of this regulatory monstrosity? Yeah, right. SORRY, jobs.

    1. This will encourage companies to move overseas. If I am operating a company in the US and I relocate it overseas, I get to sell the carbon credits to pay for the move.

  10. the cap would apply only to faciltities [sic] that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually

    If they were serious, the cap would apply to facilities that emit 23,758.5 tons annually.

  11. Good thing they amended the CEA to prevent speculative abuse.

    Godd*mn if this passes I can’t wait for this Federally mandated “market” to BLOW THE FUCK UP.

      1. That is totally awesome!

  12. I have to question the wisdom of this go for broke strategy. Proposing the tax can only diminish the Democrat’s dismal polling numbers. And, since the bill doesn’t have a chance of passing, they don’t gain anything.

  13. How come there are no Pro-pot firebombers? Do they get lost in the cheezypoofs isle or something?

    1. d’oh wrong thread.

  14. So just how big will these implants be? Will there be you know daily physical inspections of them?

    The sensor apparatus itself is only eight and a half inches long but, due to the analytical equipment it carries, weighs almost four pounds. This is not including the battery pack, which weighs another five pounds (not including spares) and is worn clipped to the belt. Sphincter strength being unreliable, the sensor is held in place by a series of small clamps, which are to be surgically attached to both the taint and the interior of the colon. Physical inspections will be infrequent — no more than once every four months for upgrades, service, and clamp-tightening. Most sensors will remain in contact with IRS headquarters via a three-inch cellular antenna, unobtrusively located along the top of the crack. However, for Americans in more remote areas where cellular service is not available, a satellite uplink can be enabled with the addition of a fairly unobtrusive 10-inch dish. There is also an ethernet port.

    1. A sphincter inspector would be a shitty job.

      ba da boom tsshhhhh

  15. I’m going to spend my carbon allowance throwing big flaming bags of dogshit at that fucking Stalinist, Joe Lieberman.


    1. [spit-take]

  16. The emissions permits would be auctioned off by the federal government subject to a gradually rising price floor and ceiling.

  17. Sqirrels done et muh commant (agin).

    What I intended to say was:

    It’s funny, but for some reason, I cannot help reading “auctioned off” as “awarded”.

    1. There is was a raging debate in the environmental market circles over whether to auction off CO2 credits or allocate them to existing sources.

      Those who don’t own the existing sources see it as subsidizing those who do, and those who do see it as something they already own relative to the assets they paid real money for in the past.

      Part of the insanity that was the House bill were the attempts to both auction AND allocate credits depending on political favoritism and congressional horse trading.

  18. If only we could ration stupidity…

    1. The average American would get enough credits for a complete season of American Idol, for example, or they could spread it around by watching select episodes of Celebrity Apprentice. Offsets for watching PBS.

      1. No way would there be enough credits for the whole country to watch American Idol. The stupidity credits would have to be pooled among idiots with each idiot getting to watch one week.

      2. Offsets for watching PBS.

        The way NOVA and Nature have been dumbed down in recent years, the value of those offsets are declining fast.

        1. No kidding. I used to love Nova and Nature. But it seems in the last few years that half of their stories are environmental scare stories usually about global warming.

        2. Yeah, whatever happened to Nova? It used to be pretty focused on hard science, now it seems kind of fluffy at times (though they occasionally run a good episode). Is it in response to cable science shows somehow? Part of it may be the politicization of some science, but that can’t be the whole story.

          1. They are dumbing it down like everything else. They are just following the same trajectory of the cable shows, albeit a lot slower. Back when it first came on, The History Channel was some pretty serious stuff. They debuted with an outstanding multi-part documentary on the American Revolution. They had another really good one on the history of the Submarine. They were PBS quality. Slowly though they started dumbing down to where now they just run shows for 8 year old boys on backhoes and logging. And the History Channel is one of the better ones. TLC used to be The Learning Channel that had very good animal and science documentaries. Now it is strictly midget reality. (Seriously if you are midget living today and haven’t been offered a reality show, you must feel pretty pathetic)

            Our whole society is dumbing down I guess.

          2. Well, there is the political fluffy stuff, but even the ‘hard science’ episodes are more “gee whiz” stuff now. NOVA used to tackle subjects requiring close attention and deal with the deep concepts. I see very little of that nowadays.

            NOVA is getting very close to Discovery Channel science – one mini-fact every ten minutes followed by ten repetitions of what has already been said.

            1. Too bad.

            2. There could be no offsets for Nostrodamus specials or “sex in the old testament” one offs.

          3. Death, disaster and sensationalism get ratings. NOVA’s corporate sponsors pay no less attention to ratings than do advertisers on commercial channels.

  19. Actually sounds like a pretty good idea when you think about it.


    1. STFU, Lou. Everyone at the office knows that you still run on Pb gasoline. LOL


      1. OH shit.

        The anonimity-bots are starting to argue with each other. They are becoming self-aware.

  20. SInce this will generate some cash for the feds, look for it to be marketed as “fiscally responsible” as well as “market-orientated”.

  21. So I guess I get to keep pounding the table on this…?

    Everything the Obama Administration and his Progressive henchmen are about is making personal sacrifice mandatory for whatever their cause is.

    You can plug in the cause of global warming, universal healthcare…whatever you want. It’s about forcing people to sacrifice their individual freedom for the sake of the common good–as they see it.

    And I blame the utility crowd. You’ve conceded the field on the values side of the battle, and the Progressives are flanking us because of it–big time.

    Freedom is its own reward. Tell a friend.

    1. Yes; even if socialism “worked,” by increasing average wealth or average life expectancy or something, it is to be opposed on a moral level. People are not to be put in zoos or treated as pets just because life “in the wild” may be somewhat tougher than life under the control of a loving zookeeper or owner.

      1. Socialist freedom is a child’s freedom. Yeah, you are free from worries about paying bills and responsibilities when you are a child. But, that is not really the freedom I want. I will take adult freedom and the responsibilities that go with it thank you.

        1. Shit, I loved being a kid. Really. It’s in such leisure time which that affords that people really can pursue their interests. That’s what On Liberty is all about imo.

          1. Yeah, and everything you did you had to get permission from your parents. And you were also at the mercy of your parents fortunes. If your father or mother lost their jobs, you paid for it.

            Only a fool would want to spend their life as a child.

            1. John the socialism you speak of is something like Norway or Sweden or France or what not. You wouldn’t feel “free-er” if your housing and health care were taken care off? i know it would be a big-ass burden off most people’s shoulders…

              1. No I wouldn’t because “by taking care of it” they would necessarily limit my choices to their discretion. By your logic, prisoners are the most free. Their housing and health care are taken care of completely. And they have lots of guards protecting their security. Seriously, suppose someone offered you the chance to live in house arrest on some big estate in Hawaii. Would you seriously trade your freedom and autonomy for that? I certainly wouldn’t.

                And further the cost of that security is an incredible loss of opportunity especially for the young. Danial Henniger recently commented on this in the WSJ.

                “In the final month of 2009, these were European unemployment rates for people under 25: Belgium, 22.6; Spain, 44.5; France, 25.2; Italy, 26.2; the U.K., 19; Sweden, 26.9; Finland, 23.5. Germany, at 10% uses an “apprentice” system to bring young people into the work force, though that system has come under stress for a most relevant reason: a shortage in Germany of private-sector jobs….

                In the U.S., we’ve thought of youth unemployment as mainly about minority status linked to poor education. Not in Europe. German TV recently broadcast a sad piece on Finland, which has the continent’s most admired school system. It showed an alert, vivacious young woman?she looked like someone out of an upper-middle-class U.S. high school?roaming Helsinki’s streets begging waitress jobs, without success.”

                It is a complete nightmare. You think it is great because you don’t know any better.

              2. ” i know it would be a big-ass burden off most people’s shoulders…”

                Yes, because it would be on the shoulders of everyone who worked and produced…

                1. No hopefully the people who actually work wouldn’t shoulder the burden. Or are you fallaciously conflating wealth with work and production again?

                  1. No Tony. People who work and produce wealth wouldn’t shoulder the burden. The magicians who produce wealth by magic would be the only ones who suffer.

                    1. No, he’s just saying that making decisions that have impacts measured in millions of dollars or more is not “work”, and thus should not be compensated according to anything near its value.

    2. “And I blame the utility crowd”

      What for? We didn’t pass laws requiring that 20% of the elctricity we produce must come from renewables by 2020. State legislatures did that. We are regulated, so we can’t just thumb our noses at the government and say, “Yeah, well we ain’t fuckin’ doin’ it.” They’d fine us out of business.

  22. I feel like capping and licensing (“quasi-propertization”) of carbon is totally reasonable to stave off the tragedy of the commons… But what’s with this artificial government lowering of the cap.

    Why not just allow environmentally minded folks put their own money in to buy up credits and let them “go fallow”? That way conservationists are held accountable for exactly the amount of economic damage their position causes.

    The net effect though is that as companies become more carbon-efficient, the unit cost of a credit goes down and conservationists can buy more credits.

  23. Ken Schultz: With all due respect, the utilities have been guaranteed regulated profits since the Progressive Era. Nothing will change for them under this legislation, so why bother opposing it?

    1. Ron. I think Ken meant “utilitarian” crowd rather than actual “utilities”.

      1. Yeah, that’s it!

        Our libertarian banner has been held so long by people arguing that freedom is good because of the results it brings…and really, that’s only one side of the argument.

        The other side of the argument has been terribly neglected. Freedom is a cultural value, and it may bring about some nice results, but in a lot of ways, the utility? That’s just icing on the cake.

        I believe in individual rights regardless of whether they’re in the best interests of society. My rights aren’t here for society to use and abuse–regardless of whether it’s in society’s best interests to do so.

        When we say things like that we believe in presumption of innocence, that you have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, etc., we’re making a value choice…

        We’re choosing to value individual rights over what may or may not be in the best interests of society generally. Divorce values from the observation that it’s better to let a thousand guilty men go free rather than to wrongly convict one innocent man, and aren’t we just talking about bias?

        Why is it better to let a thousand guilty men go free?

        The answer is because I say so. It’s a values judgment. Because I value individuals and individual rights over the best interests of society generally.

        And that just so happens to be the argument against forced rationing of energy to combat climate change and against forcing people to buy into ObamaCare for the betterment of all society too.

        And that isn’t a coincidence.

        We’ve lost our way if all we see freedom as is a superior way to centrally plan our society. There’s certainly something to the suggestion that freedom brings about better results than the alternative, but it’s a lot more than that too.

  24. The bill divides the economy into three sectors, industry, electric power generation, and transportation.

    I’m sure there will be a total free pass for the ‘government’ sector.

  25. In theory I support doing something about global warming (because threats to life and property are the proper focus of government). But I’m sure this bill is awful. I simply cannot imagine our Congress putting forward a bill that does more good than harm on this issue. I really think it should just do some educational “public awareness” thing and let the market work to fix this kind of thing (people are voluntarily seeking and valuing ways to reduce their carbon footprint and the market, as expected, is offering numerous opportunities to do that).

    1. MNG makes sense sometimes.

      1. Hey, everyone can be agreement with a stopped clock at least twice a day 😉

    2. How about ending inflation, which discourages long-view commodities speculation and promotes consumption and ‘growth’ over saving and sustainability?

    3. I simply cannot imagine our Congress putting forward a bill that does more good than harm on this issue.

      “On this issue”?


      I could count the number of times Congress enacted a bill that actually does more good than harm in the last few years on one finger.

  26. Hey guys, we’re out of money. What should we do?

    I know! Let’s subsidize energy! Then we can sell the rights to use that energy via some complicated bullshit scheme.


  27. A serious, if possibly stupid question – why do these things always refer to 17% below 2005 levels, etc.? Surely that corresponds to some other prior year, no?

    1. The numbers are pulled out of their ass.

      1. you’re not allowed to say 2001 because that connotes 9/11.

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