The United States Senate is on break for summer recess, so the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (CSA), a bill intended to nationally lower greenhouse gas emissions, remains unpassed. But with an election victory by Barack Obama continuing to look likely, it’s possible the bill could be passed this year.
If that happens, areas of the cleantech industry connected to fossil fuel could flourish in ways that grassroots supporters of the bill never foresaw. Coal industry-backed carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), an expensive, unproven technology intended mainly for coal plants, received huge subsidies in the newer 2008 version, thanks to a heavy handed lobbying effort.
The general aim of the CSA is to reduce emissions through a cap and trade system that would regulate installations emitting more than 10,000 metric tons of CO2 yearly. The bill, using 2005 emissions levels as a reference, would require reductions of 4 percent of total C02 emissions by 2012, 19 percent by 2020, and 71 percent by 2050.
But in the time since it was first introduced, the text of the legislation has been heavily influenced by the energy industry’s Washington apparatus. According to a Pew Climate Analysis, roughly 87 percent of the initial emissions credits created would be given away, with the rest being auctioned to regulated emitters in the bill’s first year. The amount would slowly reducing to around 30 percent by 2031....MORE