Reid puts Energy Bill on Ice: with a Chilling Effect on Wind and Solar?

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The Energy Bill has been shelved for now — another Price exacted by the Do Nothing Party.

Senate Halts Effort to Cap CO2 Emissions

Democrats Forgo Centerpiece of President Obama’s Energy Plan, as Cap-and-Trade Fails to Lure Broad Support in Congress

By Stephen Power, Wall Street Journal — July 23, 2010

Mr. Reid refused to declare the idea dead. But Thursday’s decision called into question when or whether any legislated cap on greenhouse-gas emissions would reach Mr. Obama’s desk.

Now, businesses, such as wind-turbine makers, that had bet on a greenhouse-gas provision to make alternatives to coal and oil more cost-competitive must recalculate how long it might take for that to happen.

[…] the solar industry is growing at the rate of about 40% a year in terms of electrical power installed and is likely to continue to grow, said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Corp.’s Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group in Huntington Beach, Calif.

We need some new Senators (at least 60), who actually care about Energy Independence — enough to act.

How are Clean Energy companies ever to get a serious foothold, when the trail ahead, keeps disappearing from legislative washouts?

Flag on the play, Halt all Forward Progress …  It’s the 80’s all over again, with the Clean Energy demand being undercut at every turn.

Clean Energy? … Who Needs it?

(continuing with the breaking news from WSJ …)

Senate Democratic leaders Thursday shelved their effort to cap greenhouse-gas emissions as part of a broad energy bill, putting aside indefinitely a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s ambitious effort to transform the way Americans produce and consume energy.

The proposal would have allowed utilities to trade permits to pollute as they worked to shift away from coal-a concept commonly called “cap and trade.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that neither he nor the White House had managed to line up 60 senators to support even a limited proposal seeking to cap carbon-dioxide emissions from electric power companies.

[…]

Mr. Reid’s decision to pull cap-and-trade from the energy bill could reverberate on Wall Street, where banks and brokerage firms had been anticipating climate legislation that would lead to widespread trading of carbon “credits.”

There is already a global carbo-trading market, with the majority of the trading taking place in the regulated European markets. It amounted to $127 billion last year.

[…]

But other business could be chilled if Washington abandons entirely the idea of raising the price of consuming fossil fuels. Companies trying to develop and sell solar and wind energy technology, energy-conservation systems or electric vehicles have hoped that caps on greenhouse gas emissions would jump-start demand.

[…]

Mr. Reid’s decision leaves EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in charge of setting federal limits on greenhouse gases. She has already adopted rules limiting emissions from cars and requiring state regulators to account for such emissions when they issue air-quality permits to large refineries and manufacturing facilities.

The agency’s authority to do so is under assault. Business groups have sued, challenging the legality of EPA proposals to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.

Leave it to the EPA to prime the Clean Energy pump ?

Even when Wall Street is chomping on the bit, to get first crack at the US Carbon Credit Market?

I thought the EPA and CO2 Regulation Issue — was already a “done deal”.  Something about the Supreme Court ruling CO2 ACTUALLY IS a harmful Pollutant … and that was in the W-Decade, too …

EPA: Greenhouse Gases Threaten Public Health and the Environment

Science overwhelmingly shows greenhouse gas concentrations at unprecedented levels due to human activity

Release date: 12/07/2009

President Obama and Administrator Jackson have publicly stated that they support a legislative solution to the problem of climate change and Congress’ efforts to pass comprehensive climate legislation. However, climate change is threatening public health and welfare, and it is critical that EPA fulfill its obligation to respond to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined that greenhouse gases fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants.

What did the Supreme Court say?

Short answer:  the EPA had to “regulate greenhouse gases” … like it or not.

High Court Faults EPA Inaction on Emissions

Critics of Bush Stance on Warming Claim Victory

By Robert Barnes and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writers — April 3, 2007

The Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration yesterday for refusing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, siding with environmentalists in the court’s first examination of the phenomenon of global warming.

The court ruled 5 to 4 that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by improperly declining to regulate new-vehicle emissions standards to control the pollutants that scientists say contribute to global warming.

“EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. The agency “identifies nothing suggesting that Congress meant to curtail EPA’s power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants,” the opinion continued.

So what has the EPA, done with this ruling, in the meantime?

They took time to study it.  They issued 2 Findings, basically confirming the Court’s ruling.

Climate Change – Regulatory Initiatives

Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act

On December 7, 2009, the Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:

 — Endangerment Finding: The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) – in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.

 — Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator finds that the combined emissions of these well-mixed greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.

These findings do not themselves impose any requirements on industry or other entities. However, this action is a prerequisite to finalizing the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles, which EPA proposed in a joint proposal including the Department of Transportation’s proposed CAFE standards on September 15, 2009.

And what has the new Administration’s EPA, done with this ruling, more recently?

They issued a Memorandum, and created some new fleet standards … woo hoo

May 21, 2010

President Obama Directs Administration to Create First-Ever:

National Efficiency and Emissions Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

The White House — Office of the Press Secretary  

Calls for increased support for electric vehicles, extension of national policy for cars and light- trucks

Signing a Presidential Memorandum in the Rose Garden at the White House today, the President directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a first-ever National Policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for Model Years 2014-2018. […]

Will those new EPA “Regulatory Initiatives” create the ground-swell of Economic Demand to get Clean Energy industries off the ground?    (in the same way that a Carbon Credit Market would?)

Harry Reid seems to think so, for now.  He has passed this Energy “Hot Potato” to the EPA to handle, for now … will THEY manage to come up with that Forward Progress, that the country so desperately needs?     (to start to break our addiction to Oil and Coal?)

Or will they hem and haw, and eventually Punt, on some future 4th Down Play, later this year?    (and “fumble” the ball back to Congress, who THEN will likely have even LESS of a consensus to make any “serious” Forward Progress.)

Like I said before:

We need some new Senators (at least 60 of them), who actually care enough about Energy Independence and the Future of the Planet — enough to act … to act NOW.  … It’s NOT getting any easier, from here on out, if you ask me.

22 comments

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    • jamess on July 23, 2010 at 5:12 am
      Author

    although,

    I am a bit disappointed.

    And So It Goes …

    • Edger on July 23, 2010 at 5:25 am

    who aren’t bought and paid for by the oil industry would help?

  1. Digesting.

    Still, I watch and wait and think, about everything, or at least most things you all write about, as these things are on my mind, as well.

  2. My cousin ordered and pre-paid for a 45 thousand dollar windmill for survialist purposes two years ago.  It is as of today idle, lacking the “correct and proper parts” for completion and start up.

    May I also point out that when the company I used to work for foisted a shitty medical health insurance company upon it’s employees then prompting said employees to use the company owned email system for discussions about how to NOT GET SCREWED by said Shitty Insurance Company crap there begat a Company Policy specifically stating discussions of “non-work” related use of company computing systems was prohibited.

  3. I am very much a proponent of solar and wind energy but I have lost my enthusiasm for the theory that global warming is being caused by man-made C02.  I thought “An Inconvenient Truth was a great movie when it came several years ago.  I wanted Al Gore to be President and to run again in 2008. But that was then and this is now.

    About a year and a half ago I began my “conversion.”  

    I am as progressive as they come, but the one issue I part company with most progressives is AGW.  After a year and a half of study I have come to the conclusion that the science isn’t at all settled, that many notable scientists in the fields of computers, geology, solar physics, meteorology, biology, and chemistry, do not share the conclusion that the earth is warming from man produced CO2 and that their ideas do not warrant hand-waiving dismissal.

    One graph I did not see on an Inconvenient Truth was this one:

    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/li

    If you look at it, you will certainly understand why many geologists have difficulty with the theory that global warming is the result of man produced by CO2.  The earth has experienced ice ages during periods when the C02 was ten times as high as it is now.

    Moreover, I have become a proponent of the theory that the periodic rise and fall of solar magnetic output may be a better explanation for the hotter earth of the last century.

    Google Henrik Svensmark and the Maunder Minimum to learn about the theoretical relationship between solar magnetism and earth climate.  If you don’t think Svensmark’s theory deserves attention, then why is there are major experiment ongoing at CERN to see if cosmic radiation (which increases when solar magnetic output is low) produces clouds?  Google Jasper Kirkby, CERN, and CLOUD to read about the experiment.  What began my conversion was a Russian article about to Russian solar physicists (from Russia’s equivalent of NASA) who believe that the decline in solar magnetic output will produce a mini-ice age starting about 2040.  Another mini-ice age would be far more catastrophic than global warming of one or two degrees centigrade.

    And the list goes on.  Many scientists claim we don’t have adequate proof it is even hotter.  Many meteorologists, who know how weather data is collected, are screaming about how poorly weather stations worldwide are being maintained, and question the validity of the data being anywhere near accurate enough to measure changes in temperature of tenths of a degree.  Satellite weather temperature data, which appears to be more accurate, is too new to draw any definitive conclusions yet as to the direction of global temperature.

    To me it is hubris to suggest that we know what has caused the recent rise in temperature when we have no accepted theory to  explain ice ages and inter-glacials.  If the science is settled on what causes global warming, why isn’t the science settled on what causes the earth to go through periodic ice ages?  Can anyone here, in 250 words or less, explain why the earth goes through periods of ice ages?  If we don’t understand the big picture, why do we think we can understand the small picture?  

    I want solar panels on my roof.  I want wind turbines on my roof pumping underground water through my house to heat and cool it.  But I no longer want political policy determined by questionable science.

    It is with a heavy heart that I have concluded that the right wingers are probably right on the issue of global warming and that the progressive movement will ultimately pay a huge price for the mistake of pushing polices based upon it.  So I wish other progressives would seriously re-think and re-evaluate this issue before continuing to press for policies based upon it.

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