The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Climate Change

House Democrats Plan to Introduce Greenhouse-Gas Bill

By Juliet Eilperin
Key House Democrats will unveil legislation Tuesday that aims to cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, according to sources familiar with the bill who asked not to be identified.

The measure, co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the panel's Energy and Environment Subcommittee, will serve as the main vehicle in the House for climate legislation.

It would establish a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide that would allow cleaner facilities to sell their pollution permits to dirtier operations. While the bill remains silent on some key issues, such as what portion of pollution allowances would be auctioned off and how the money raised through such an auction would be spent, sources said, it would establish both a national renewable energy standard as well as an energy-efficiency-resource standard that would reduce electricity demand by 15 percent by 2020.

The emissions reduction targets, which are slightly more ambitious than President Obama's short-term climate goals, largely mirror those outlined by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of business and environmental groups. By 2050, the bill would cut national greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared to 2005 levels.

The bill also includes language modeled on the Carbon Capture and Storage Early Deployment Act that Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) introduced last year -- promoting the commercial development of carbon sequestration technology by establishing a research fund. The money would be raised through assessing fees on retail electricity suppliers.

International observers have been watching Congress closely for clues as to whether the United States would adopt a binding carbon cap before international negotiators convene in Copenhagen in early December in order to forge a new global climate agreement.

Penny Wong, Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Water, said in an interview Monday that, while she had not seen Waxman and Markey's bill, she was pleased they were working to pass a bill so quickly.

"We're encouraged by the legislature seeking to deal with this issue early," Wong said, "given the importance of this issue and the importance of a [U.S.] domestic platform for international negotiations."

Waxman has said he aims to vote the bill out of his committee by Memorial Day.

Posted at 10:35 PM ET on Mar 30, 2009  | Category:  Climate Change
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Unless this cap-and-trade program also covers imports, all it will do is drive even more manufacturing overseas, and in another ten years we will be further cap-in-hand than we are today.

Posted by: perfgeek | March 31, 2009 11:56 AM

As usual, the Democrats have put the cart before the horse.

We don't know what the problem is, nor do we know the extent of it. Congress and the entire environmental industry is going to look pretty stupid if they start starving the atmosphere of CO2 and a Little Ice Age returns, which, given the direction of the temperature readings of late, is a possibility if not a likelihood.

Yes, let's get rid of the particulates where possible, but let's have sensible legislation that fosters clean coal and favors nuclear power.

Posted by: theduke89 | March 31, 2009 10:36 AM

Consider the Connection to:
An Act of Congress
Please Google Search:

Posted by: jerry_mayeux | March 31, 2009 10:23 AM


It the answer is yes, consumers will punish Congress for doing this now, when the public can least afford it.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 30, 2009 11:48 PM


Hey, pinko:

It isn't the job of Congress to keep your X-box bill low.

If prices rise in a real market, you have the same shoice you always had: pay or don't. If prices reflect reality instead of your socialized life in a bubble, then welcome to the real world.

If companies do more to keep their own costs low, and pass the savings along to you, they win. If they don't, then it isn't the job of Congress or the White House or Santa to make things better for you. Companies that don't control their own costs will lose.

That is capitalism. It isn't for the weak.

Posted by: Attucks | March 31, 2009 9:32 AM

I respect the Chairman's sense of urgency in passing energy/ climate change legislation but I also believe strongly that a cap and trade scheme is not the best way to reduce emissions--especially given the economic times. I certainly hope that a carbon tax-shift approach like the one supported by leading economists, scientists and opinion leaders gets a fair hearing (no pun intended). Such a measure would not only significantly reduce emissions, but incentivize green R&D AND return revenue to families already burdened by the economic downturn.

Posted by: SallyVCrockett | March 31, 2009 8:33 AM


It the answer is yes, consumers will punish Congress for doing this now, when the public can least afford it.



Wolf interviewed Seymour Hersh on "The Situation Room" today about his claim that former VP Dick Cheney ran an "executive assassination ring" (Sy says he said "wing") out of the White House.

Hersh stuck by the story, reaffirming the substance of his claim -- but he pedaled back on his language, saying perhaps he shouldn't have used the phrase "executive assassination wing." (Sure sounded like "ring" on the tape...)

He also indicated to Blitzer that he was talking about foreign operations.

BUT -- Wolf NEVER asked Hersh about the truly explosive part of his remarks during that recent seminar in Minneapolis...

...that the CIA and the military have been involved in what Hersh described in Minneapolis as "DOMESTIC" operations against American citizens -- and he had added that such operations are still going on.

The audio is available at:

Why did neither Blitzer nor Hersh elaborate on the domestic angle? Was this omission purposeful?

Will Hersh elaborate in another forum, perhaps in the New Yorker magazine? I am curious, because his reference to domestic ops could have something to do with what is reported in this article:

OR (if link is corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 30, 2009 11:48 PM

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