A weak U.S. climate bill?

By ,

Clive Crook at FT.com isn’t impressed. In short:

“It proposes safety valves that will ease the cap if it threatens to have a noticeable effect on energy prices. It relies heavily on offsets – theoretical carbon reductions bought from other countries or other industries – so that big US emitters will not need to try so hard. It gives emission permits away, and tells utilities to rebate the windfall to consumers, so their electricity bills do not go up. It creates a vastly complicated apparatus, a playground for special interests and rent-seekers, a minefield of unintended consequences – and the bottom line for all that is business as usual.”

Joseph Romm at salon.com has a different take:

“It is worth noting that the original Clean Air Act — first passed in 1963 — also didn’t do enough and was subsequently strengthened many times. Similarly, the 1987 Montréal protocol would not have stopped concentrations of ozone depleting substances from rising and would not have saved the ozone layer. But it began a process and established a framework that, like the CAA, could be strengthened over time as the science warranted. The painful reality of climate change is going to become increasingly obvious in the coming years, and strengthening is inevitable.”