Friday, April 10, 2009

Dealing with Cap and Trade in the US

Earlier this month the US Senate firmly rejected President Obama's plan to try to push through a carbon emissions cap-and-trade program through fast-track procedures, making clear that getting any bill done this year will be a struggle. The Senate voted 67-31 to pass an amendment that says Congress should not try to force cap-and-trade through under the budget "reconciliation" process, now that both houses have passed the budget (without any Republican support). While not binding on the final House-Senate agreement, the strong statement on a Republican-sponsored amendment does go a long way toward tying Congress' hands.

Quite right too. Cap and trade will net the Obama administration $665 billion over his first term and lead to a realignment of energy strategy, create energy poverty and slow the development of alternative energy. While many suggest that it will lead to lower carbon emissions, there is no evidence that it will, at least if the ETS scheme in Europe is anything to go by.

What is really needed is a balanced approach to energy and the environment, one that begins with the fact that fossil based fuels will account for 80-85% of North American energy and fuel supplies and that there is no magic bullet. One that also accepts that energy poverty is unaccaptable and that recognizes that wind and solar, while nice to have, are socialist responses with a heavy tax implication. One that recognizes that we cannot "stop" climate change. Wouldn't that be refreshing!

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