At this week’s subcommittee markup of Lieberman-Warner (S 2191), Senators Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced several amendments, some of which were adopted. The full list gives a good sense of the ideological, political, and economic battles to come as the full Environment and Public Works Committee holds hearings on the bill.
Thanks to the responsive communications staff of each senator, Hill Heat has summaries of all the amendments, and the full text of those introduced by Sanders. Sen. Barrasso’s amendments will be described in the next post.
Amendments were defeated unless otherwise noted.SANDERS
- Funding for Renewables from the Auction Proceeds The amendment will specify that no less than 28% of the funds under the “zero and low carbon energy technologies program” will be used for renewables (as defined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005). The 28% is the same percentage as the maximum amount available to the “advanced coal and sequestration technologies program.”
- Reduce Funding for Vehicle Re-tooling & Provide Funding for Energy and Environmental Block Grants This amendment would reduce from 20% to 4% the amount of funding from the auction revenues that would be provided to the automobile manufacturing sector and would put the 16% difference into funding an energy and environmental block grant program, whose purposes are to assist State, Indian tribal, and local governments in implementing strategies -
- to reduce fossil fuel emissions created as a result of activities within the boundaries of the States or units of local government in an environmentally sustainable way that, to the maximum extent practicable, maximizes benefits for local and regional communities;
- to reduce the total energy use of the States, Indian tribes, and units of local government; and
- to improve energy efficiency in the transportation sector, building sector, and any other appropriate sectors.
- Adopted Increase the Accountability for the Automobile Manufacturing Sector Under the Auction Proceeds This amendment would change language in the bill so that to get funding from the auction, the automobile industry would have to be making vehicles that get “at least 35 miles per gallon combined fuel economy calculated on an energy-equivalent basis.”
- Withdrawn; similar text in substitute amendment Scientific Lookback This amendment would require the EPA Administrator, following a report by the National Academies of Sciences (required by the underlying language), to promulgate regulations to tighten the emissions caps if the latest science suggests that we are not on track to avert a 2 degree Celsius increase in global average temperature.
- Decrease the Amount of Years Free Allowances Are Given Away to Power Plants & Industry This amendment would reduce, by 10 years, the amount of time the power sector and the industrial sector are given pollution permits (for free by the federal government).
- 5a. Increase the Amount of Allowances Allocated to the Climate Change Credit Corporation This amendment would change the numbers in the table under section 3201 (Percentage of Emission Allowance Account Allocated to the Corporation) to reflect the decrease in the amount of time that the power sector and industrial sector are given free pollution permits under Sanders amendment # 5.
- Coal-fired Power Plants This amendment specifies that no coal-fired power plant will commence operation unless it captures and sequesters at least 85% of its CO2.
- Withdrawn New Entrant Allowances for Renewables Only This amendment would only allow utility-scale renewable projects to receive allowances under the new entrant provision in the bill.
- Offsets This amendment would limit offsets to an annual amount of no more than 420 million metric tons of allowances, instead of allowing each entity to meet 15% of its emissions reductions with offsets.
- Emission Reduction Targets This amendment will require the Administrator to promulgate annual emission limits to reduce total US greenhouse gas emissions by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050
- Nancy Pelosi (Cal.), Speaker of the House
- Chris Van Hollen (Md.), DCCC Chair
Not participating: Hoyer, Clyburn, Emanuel, Larson, and the Republican leadershipEnergy Independence and Global Warming
- Ed Markey (Mass.), chairman
- Earl Blumenauer
- Jay Inslee
- Jerry McNerney
Not participating: Larson, Solis, Herseth Sandlin, Cleaver, Hall, and every RepublicanEnergy and Commerce
- Tom Allen (Maine)
- Lois Capps (Cal.)
- Charles Gonzalez (Tex.)
- Baron Hill (Ind.)
- Jay Inslee (Wash.)
- Ed Markey (Mass.), chairman of Global Warming Committee
- George Radanovich (R-Cal.)
- Henry Waxman (Cal.), chair of Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- Anthony Weiner (NY)
Not participating: Baldwin, Barrow, Boucher, Butterfield, DeGette, Dingell (chair), Doyle, Engel, Eshoo, Gordon, Green, Harman, Hooley, Matheson, Melancon, Ross, Rush, Schakowsky, Solis, Stupak, Towns, Wynn, and all Republicans except RadanovichAgriculture
- Mike McIntyre (NC)
- Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
- Steve Kagen (Wis.)
- Nick Lampson (Tex.)
- Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
Not participating: Baca, Barrow, Boswell, Boyda, Cardoza, Costa, Cuellar, Lincoln Davis, Etheridge, Herseth Sandlin, Holden, Tim Mahoney, Marshall, Peterson (chair), Pomeroy, Salazar, Scott, Space, Walz, every Republican
People in italics are sending a representative or a statement of support to a Step It Up event.
At today’s markup of Lieberman Warner (S 2191), changes were made to win the support of Sen. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), ensuring passage by a 4-3 vote (Sanders, Isakson, and Barrasso voting no) to send the bill to the full Committee on Environment and Public Works.The changes, according to CQ:
- Extending the scope of the bill to cover all emissions from the use of natural gas. The introduced bill covered natural gas burned in power plants and industrial processes but not in commercial and residential buildings.
- Requiring the EPA to make recommendations to Congress based on periodic reports from the National Academy of Sciences. The bill already would direct the academy to evaluate whether changes in the law are necessary, based on the state of the environment and available technology.
These were two of the four specific changes called for by NRDC at the initial hearing on the bill.Amendments were introduced by Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Changes made by amendments adopted at the markup:
- Advanced tech auto funding limited to vehicles with minimum of 35 mpg (Sanders 3)
- More allocations given to states, taken from international forest protection (Barrasso 4)
- Definition of lower-rank coal eligible for 25% of CCS funding changed from “for example, bituminous and lignite” to coal with a heat content below 10000 BTU/lb (Barrasso 3)
Sen. Isakson reiterated his passion for nuclear power, and Barrasso argued for stronger coal subsidies, a sentiment supported by Sen. Baucus. Lautenberg compared their role to that of doctors faced with a sick patient who could become terminal, asking why anyone would withhold the necessary medicine. The Senators often laughed about their needs to compromise and balance each others’ parochial interests.
VOINOVICH Speaking at the National Press Club on Friday, Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a member of the Committee on Envrionment and Public Works, criticized the “overly aggressive first phase of emission reductions” in the draft Lieberman-Warner legislation, which calls for the Sanders-Boxer target of reduction to 1990 levels of emissions (15% reduction from 2005 levels) by 2015.According to CQ (subscriber only):
Voinovich said that legislation should include financial incentives for technological development and deployment, such as loan guarantees, government procurement programs and international technology transfer promotion.
“Let’s do a Manhattan project,” Voinovich said. “Let’s do an Apollo project.”
Without new technologies, he warned, coal-fired power plants would simply switch over to using natural gas
ISAKSON Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) will introduce a “nuclear title” amendment at the subcommittee markup tomorrow for more nuclear power plant incentives. At last week’s hearing, Isakson said it was “just crazy” to not support nuclear power. Update: Isakson may miss the markup to attend a White House meeting on the Georgia drought. David Roberts notes the irony that means Isakson won’t be able to support subsidies for the most water-intensive source of electricity.
ALEXANDER Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) sits on the EPW committee. He believes the cap-and-trade system should not apply to the transportation sector through the “upstream” cap on refiners and fuel importers, instead only applying a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) such as that in S. 1324 and HR 2215.
According to CQ, Alexander will amend Alexander-Lieberman (S 1168), a power-sector cap-and-trade bill, to include transportation and building efficiency standards.
INHOFE Inhofe, EPW’s ranking member, continues to challenge the science of climate change.
In an effort to expand the dialogue around this issue, I am seeking ideas, thoughts and questions prior to the hearing. Please have a look at the hearing information below and then post your thoughts in the comment section of this blog. Time for Q&A is limited during Congressional hearings, but I ]will read all posts beforehand in an effort to inject your ideas into this important debate.
The Lieberman-Warner bill will reward corporate polluters by handing them pollution permits worth almost half a trillion dollars. And that’s just one part of this bill. The bill also includes hundreds of billions of dollars of other mind-boggling giveaways. The levels of pollution-rewarding giveaways in this bill are truly obscene.
In calculating the value of emissions allowances, FoE follows the estimates of EPA’s analysis of McCain-Lieberman (Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007, S. 280) which estimated that between 2015 and 2050, the price of emissions permits would increase from an average of $14 to $78 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.Friends of the Earth’s analysis found that the bill:
- Provides the coal industry and other fossil fuel industries pollution permits worth $436 billion over the life of the legislation; 58 percent of this amount goes to coal (sec. 3901)
- Returns revenue raised through auctions directly to polluters—for example, an additional $324 billion would subsidize the coal industry’s efforts to develop carbon capture and storage mechanisms (sec. 3601)
- Directs another $522 billion of auction revenue to low or zero-emissions technologies, which could result in handouts to the nuclear power, big hydro and coal industries, which are not clean (these funds could also be directed toward important clean technologies, such as wind and solar—the legislation is not specific) (sec. 4401)
On Thursday, the Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), will markup S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade climate legislation.The LA Times calls for Congress to implement “simple carbon taxes that would assess polluters for the cost of their environmental damage and offset the resulting economic pain by lowering other taxes”, and failing that, 100% auction. The Roanoke Times supports L-W but calls for a tighter cap, citing UCS. The Center for American Progress, in an article primarily about the California wildfires, calls for these changes to L-W:
- Mandating that new coal fired power plants reduce their pollution by 85 percent using carbon and capture storage technology.
- Providing significantly more resources to protect people in Africa and Asia at risk from global warming impacts.
- Requiring all emitters to purchase allowances that allow them to emit greenhouse gases.
The Great Falls Tribune takes a look at the Montanan perspective, noting Baucus’s scripturally based support for the bill, the no-till agricultural offsets, allowances for rural electric cooperatives, CCS incentives, and the weak cap targets. The Helena Independent Record has more of Baucus’s perspective.
MarketWatch notes that hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake, noting that environmentalists are calling for 100% auction and that US-CAP has avoided a stance, and links to the CBO report from this spring, Trade-Offs in Allocating Allowances for CO2 Emissions.
The Politico takes a look at the lobbying on L-W. Note to the Politico: “allocate” is not “legislative slang for ‘give away’”—auctions and free distribution are the alternative methods of allocation.
Last week the Union of Concerned Scientists released a new version of “Cashing In on Clean Energy”, judging the economic and environmental effects of a 15% renewable electricity standard (RES) by 2020 (aka renewable portfolio standard (RPS)), the standard called for in HR 3221, the House energy bill. [The Senate version did not include the Bingaman amendment of the same standard, and the provision is at the negotiating table; the initial UCS study looked at a 20% by 2020 standard; the 1Sky/Step It Up campaign calls for 20% by 2015.]Using an Energy Information Administration (EIA) model, The UCS found the following:
- Consumer savings would equal $13 billion to $18.1 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $27.7 billion to $31.8 billion by 2030 if the standard does not increase)
- Clean, renewable energy capacity would increase between 3.6 and 4.5 times over 2005 levels
- Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking between 13.7 and 20.6 million cars off the road
Under our “lower renewable energy case”: (1) all states opt into a provision that allows electric service providers to use energy efficiency to meet up to 27 percent of their annual targets, and (2) additional renewable energy generation from electric power providers having to meet higher targets under state standards is eligible. Under the “higher renewable energy case”: (1) states with renewable standards that are higher than the federal targets (there are 18) do not opt into the energy efficiency provision, and (2) additional renewable energy generation used to meet state standards is retired and not eligible for use under the national standard.
In a story reported by Associated Press (see Washington Post, ED, WattHead, CQ), Barbara Boxer revealed that CDC director Julie Gerberding’s written testimony (uncensored version) at Tuesday’s EPW hearing on global warming impacts on health was dramatically cut by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget after questions were raised by John H. Marburger III, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Six of the deleted pages detailed how global warming might affect Americans and they included a section with the title, “Climate Change is a Public Concern.”On Wednesday, House Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Brad Miller sent a letter to Marburger formally requesting all documents related to the matter by next Monday:
We expect our government researchers and scientists to provide to both Congress and the public the full results of their taxpayer-supported work without the filter that those of opposing views might like to impose. Otherwise, we cannot have a full and free scientific debate.Marburger released a statement today (from Andy Revkin’s NYT Dot Earth blog), claiming:
Those commentators have missed or ignored several nuanced but important differences between the I.P.C.C. report’s findings and the draft testimony.Barbara Boxer responsed:
Dr. Marburger’s statement is a lame defense of the White House action to censor information the American people deserve to know about the dangers of global warming.DeSmogBlog shows what was cut from the report, saying:
These were not minor edits the White House PR spin machine would like us to believe. The word-count for the CDC Director’s Senate testimony went from 3,107 to 1,500 after the White House got through with it.
Whole sections on health related effects to extreme weather, air pollution-related health effect, allergic diseases, water and food-borne infectious diseases, food and water scarcity and the long term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects were completely wiped out of the testimony.
Record-Breaking Forest Fires in Western United State Increasingly Fueled By Global Warming
October 19, 2007
Evidence shows that as a result of global warming, forest fires in our western states are burning more frequently and with greater intensity than we have ever seen before. Last year was the worst fire season in recorded history and this season is already second, with eight million acres burned.
What has brought this change about? A study published in the journal Science in 2006 revealed the frightening conclusion that global warming is contributing to the increased loss of our forests to fire. This publication revealed the impact of global warming, even while controlling for land use and management practices which also effect forest fires.
According to the Science paper, “Wildfires have consumed increasing areas of western United States forests in recent years, and fire-fighting expenditures by federal land-management agencies now regularly exceed US$1 billion/year. Hundreds of homes are burned annually by wildfires, and damages to natural resources are sometimes extreme and irreversible.” 
Global Warming’s impact on fires in the West and the threat that an increasing number of wild fires pose will be featured on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. 60 Minutes will speak with author Tom Swetnam, an author on the 2006 Science paper, on the role global warming has played on the frequency and intensity of these mega-fires. I encourage you watch this program to learn more about this important issue.
Edward J. Markey
Member of Congress
 C. Whitlock, Nature 432, 28 (2004).