Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) yesterday released a statement of principles for judging climate change legislation. Both are members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, representing the majority with Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Baucus; Lieberman and Warner plan to submit cap-and-trade legislation to the subcommittee today.
Earlier in the month, a group of liberal Democratic senators outlined their goals for climate change legislation, praising the Lieberman-Warner effort.Here are the Sanders-Lautenberg principles in short:
- Targets must be set to cap atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases at a max of 450 PPM CO2 equivalent, latest science continually taken into acount
- Quick transition to polluter-pays auction, with monies providing economic relief and significant investment in renewables and energy efficiency
- No federal pre-emption of state efforts
- Additional policies such as building and fuel standards and CCS requirements that ensure rapid deployment of clean energy technology
- Offsets should be limited, real, verifiable, additional, permanent and enforceable
- The controversial standard legislation – fuel economy (CAFE) and renewable fuels (RFS) from the Senate bill (HR 6), and renewable energy (RPS) from the House bill (HR 3221) – “will be worked out behind closed doors between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid”, with staff-level discussions this week
- Opponents of the CAFE legislation in the Senate bill continue a last-ditch effort to advocate Hill-Terry (HR 2927) and get Senators to switch their votes. The coalition, led by Energy and Commerce chair John Dingell, includes:
- Dingell’s staff is meeting with the leadership staff for the closed-door negotiations, but he is leaving the door open to blocking the energy bill: “I’m not foreclosing any option. I don’t make the jungle. I just live there.” He also said that trying to get a bill completed before the scheduled October 26 recess “is to invite a disaster.”
I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world’s pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis – a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.
My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.
Through The Climate Project, Gore has trained over 1000 people to give his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation; the website allows people to request a presentation.Gore is the chairman of ACE. The board consists of:
- Theodore Roosevelt IV, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers, Chair of the Pew Center for Global Climate Change
- Larry J. Schweiger, President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation
- Carol M. Browner, Principal, The Albright Group, LLC, Clinton EPA Administrator
- Brent Scowcroft
- Lee Thomas, Reagan EPA Administrator
- Orin S. Kramer, General Partner, Boston Provident, L.P., Chairman, New Jersey State Investment Council, Carter White House
- Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert
- Kevin Wall, CEO, Control Room, Producer, Live Earth/SOS
Democratic Senators Bob Menendez (NJ), Jack Reed (RI), John Kerry (MA), Russ Feingold (WI), Chris Dodd (CT) and Dick Durbin (IL) wrote last week to Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee, to weigh in on the draft plan of the legislation the two are developing.They mirror the previous praise by Democrats on the subcommittee in their letter:
We write today to congratulate you on your leadership in addressing global warming. The outline of proposed legislation that you distributed last month is an important start and your efforts to forge a bipartisan bill and attempt to pass a meaningful climate change bill this Congress deserve praise and recognition.They go on to express some concerns, though without the vehemence of the Kit Bond’s conservative criticism:
- Calling for a 80% reduction by 2050 with specific and aggressive interim targets, as opposed to the 70% target in the draft
- Reiterating opposition to “safety valve” legislation like that in Bingaman-Specter
- Criticizing the degree to which free allocations of emissions credits are given to the fossil fuel sector
- Calling for more emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy: “take some of the considerable resources generated by the auction process and devote them to further research and incentives for renewable energy . . . make the bill more balanced by devoting a larger share of the allowance value to public purposes, including support for energy efficiency and renewables”
There are various bills before Congress that would mandate a new target of 35 mpg by 2020 and require both cars and trucks to meet that standard. Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on research and development but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist.
Toyota has long supported an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Moreover, Toyota has always exceeded federal fuel economy requirements. We are continuously striving to improve our fuel economy, regardless of federal mandates.
Toyota currently supports a proposal known as the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, that would set a new standard of up to 35 mpg by 2022 (up to a 40% increase) and maintain separate categories for cars and light trucks. Although this won’t be easy, we believe it is achievable.
House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee chairman Ed Markey responds: “Apparently the only thing that separates Toyota from the ‘impossible dream’ of 35 miles per gallon here in the U.S., is a flight across the Pacific Ocean,” as Toyota meets Japan’s (and Europe’s) fuel efficiency standards of greater than 40 MPG, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.
As he previously announced he would, Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee chair Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) released the first of a series of white papers on climate legislation today, Scope of a Cap-and-Trade Program.
Based on the hearings earlier this year, the Committee and Subcommittee Chairmen have reached the following conclusions: The United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 60 and 80 percent by 2050 to contribute to global efforts to address climate change. To do so, the United States should adopt an economy-wide, mandatory greenhouse gas reduction program. The central component of this program should be a cap-and-trade program. Given the breadth of the economy that will be affected by a national climate change program and the significant environmental consequences at stake, it is important to design a fair program that obtains the maximum emission reductions at the lowest cost and with the least economic disruption. The Subcommittee and full Committee will draft legislation to establish such a program.
Oddly, the white paper fails to mention a baseline for emissions reductions; the scientific consensus for the 80 percent reduction is from 1990 emissions levels.
The white paper makes no recommendations on how credits should be allocated, though Boucher has stated his resistance to auctions in the past. Nor does it discuss interaction with foreign carbon markets or how to deal with imports from unregulated entities.The white paper argues that complementary measures are necessary:
“Even with a broad-based cap-and-trade program, complementary measures (such as a carbon tax or other tax-based incentives, efficiency or other performance standards, or research and development programs) will also be needed. For example, funding for research, development, and deployment of new technologies would assist industries that will need to adopt new technologies. In addition, efficiency or other performance standards might be appropriate for some economic actors that would be inappropriate to include directly in a cap-and-trade program, but that should contribute to an economy-wide reduction program in some other way.
Proposed measures range from Dingell’s carbon tax, increased CAFE standards, appliance and lighting efficiency standards, a federal renewable energy standard, to carbon sequestration funding.
Further notes are below.
This morning saw the House Science and Technology Committee host a hearing on Energy Storage Technologies: State of Development for Stationary and Vehicular Applications, with testimony from a wide array of government, industry, and research experts.
In addition, A Siegel at Daily Kos disscusses advances in “hydro pumped storage”, which uses excess energy from a hydroelectric plant to pump water to a reservoir which can be used to generate power when demand exceeds output.
A Message from Irv Miller
Toyota is currently the target of a campaign by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that accuses us of opposing increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks. The assertion by this group that we are actively lobbying against increased fuel economy standards is just flat wrong, and we want you to be aware of the company’s position on this important issue and the facts.
FACT: Toyota has long supported an increase in the CAFE standards. Moreover, Toyota has always exceeded federal fuel economy requirements. We’ve never waited for federal mandates. Under the current CAFE standard, an automaker’s average miles per gallon for cars must exceed 27.5 and light trucks must exceed 20.7. Trucks weighing less than 8500 lbs. must average 22.5 mpg for model year 2008, 23.1 mpg in 2009 and 23.5 mpg in 2010.
FACT: There are various bills before Congress that would mandate a new target of 35 mpg by 2020 and require both cars and trucks to meet that standard. Our engineers tell us the requirements specified by these proposed measures are beyond what is possible. Toyota spends $23 million every day on R&D but, at this point, the technology to meet such stringent standards by 2020 does not exist.
FACT: Toyota supports a proposal known as the Hill-Terry bill, HR 2927, that would set a new standard of from 32 to 35 mpg by 2022 (up to a 40% increase) and maintain separate categories for cars and light trucks. That won’t be easy, but we believe it is achievable.
To help set the record straight, I have posted a message on this topic on the company’s blog. To learn more, visit the blog by clicking here—> http://blog.toyota.com/2007/09/irvs-sheet-a-ca.html
Toyota, maker of the 46 MPG Prius*, is lobbying against the Markey-Platts fuel-economy bill (HR 1506), which calls for 35 MPG by 2020, and for the significantly more industry-friendly Hill-Terry (HR 2927) as part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. (An AAM rep has even commented on this site).Thomas Friedman in the New York Times:
Representative Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said to me that Toyota could meet a 35 m.p.g. standard in Japan and Europe today, “but here — even though they bombard Americans with ads about how energy efficient Toyota is — they are fighting the 35 m.p.g. standard for 2020.”
Mr. Markey said he has tried to persuade Toyota that “a lot of people have bought Priuses or Camry hybrids to fight global warming and reduce our dependence on foreign oil” and “they would be shocked to find out” that Toyota is lobbying against the highest m.p.g. standards for America.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is contemplating changes to the ethanol tax credit, Social Security taxes and property taxes to help pay for a bill that would give farmers new tax breaks. . . .
Reducing the 51-cents-per-gallon ethanol tax credit by 5 cents would save about $854 million over 10 years. The provision would take effect only after annual ethanol production reached 7.5 billion gallons. Last year, about 6 billion gallons were made.
While the provision could irritate corn state lawmakers who say current law is helping boost rural economies, biofuel advocates say they won’t fight the provision.
“This is . . . the natural evolution of the industry,” said Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association.
At the same time, Jon Doggett of the National Corn Growers Association says he has “some real misgivings” about the proposal. Any change in the tax credit should be hashed out in the energy bill, he said.