Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cap-and-Trade Bill ‘Out of Control,’ Former Senator Wirth Says

This is quite amazing. If you remember, the Senator was not above manipulating the forum of James Hansen's 1988 congressional testimony. From Frontline:

What else was happening that summer? What was the weather like that summer?

Believe it or not, we called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6 or June 9 or whatever it was, so we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo: It was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it. It was stiflingly hot that summer. [At] the same time you had this drought all across the country, so the linkage between the Hansen hearing and the drought became very intense...

And did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?

... What we did it was went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right? So that the air conditioning wasn't working inside the room and so when the, when the hearing occurred there was not only bliss, which is television cameras in double figures, but it was really hot. ...

So Hansen's giving this testimony, you've got these television cameras back there heating up the room, and the air conditioning in the room didn't appear to work. So it was sort of a perfect collection of events that happened that day, with the wonderful Jim Hansen, who was wiping his brow at the witness table and giving this remarkable testimony. ...

Here's the headline story from Bloomberg:
Cap-and-trade legislation to limit U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has “gotten out of control” and needs to be scaled back in Congress, said former Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth.

“The Republicans are right -- it’s a cap-and-tax bill,” Wirth, a climate-change negotiator during President Bill Clinton’s administration, said in an Aug. 14 interview. “That’s what it is because they are raising revenue to do all sorts of things, especially to take care of the coal industry, and it makes no sense.”

A system to cap carbon emissions and then create a market for the trading of pollution allowances is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s proposal to fight global warming. Wirth, who helped craft an emissions-trading market two decades ago that cut sulfur-dioxide pollution causing acid rain, is among Democrats questioning House-passed legislation set to be taken up next month in the Senate.

“I’m not critical of cap-and-trade,” said Wirth, head of the UN Foundation, a philanthropy established in 1998 with $1 billion from Ted Turner, founder of the CNN cable network. “But it has to be used in a targeted and disciplined way, and what has happened is it’s gotten out of control.”

Wirth, who represented Colorado in the Senate, says the House-passed plan is “too broad across the economy.” Instead of capping carbon pollution generally, the measure should focus solely on coal-fired power plants, he said.

The House of Representatives passed its climate bill in June on a 219-212 vote. House Democrats won passage over the opposition of most Republicans by giving away 85 percent of the initial pollution allowances to energy producers and users.

‘Focus on Utilities’

Wirth also takes issue with auctioning permits as a way to generate federal revenue. Obama’s original plan called for auctioning all the permits to bring in about $650 billion by 2019, much of it for a middle-class tax cut.

“Just focus on the utilities and don’t use it as a revenue-raiser,” Wirth said. The trading permits will become “a narcotic for aging power plants.”>>>MORE