Daily Archives: May 24, 2009

The Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill (Part1)……What is it?

I will apologize in advance for posting so much information that is already in the public domain but I thought if I can put it all in one place maybe you could scan it and use it as a reference with Part 2  – nobody wants to read it not even congress. 

First up we have a summary of the bill from the legislators that wrote/sponsored it. 

The U.S. House of Representatives – Committee on Energy and Commerce 

The Waxman-Markey discussion draft, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” is comprehensive energy legislation. The legislation will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. 

The legislation has four titles: (1) a “clean energy” title that promotes renewable sources of energy and carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon transportation fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission; (2) an “energy efficiency” title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry; (3) a “global warming” title that places limits on the emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and (4) a “transitioning” title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy. 

To read the entire draft bill go to:


So how does the bill deal with cap & tax? Below is a summary from GreenBiz.com: 

The bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and would give away up to 85 percent of the pollution permits in a proposed cap-and-trade program.  

Here is the breakdown of the permit allocation:

• 15 percent of the carbon permits will be auctioned off (proceeds will go toward helping low- and moderate-income families)

The rest will be given away as follows:

• 35 percent for electric utility sector, including 30 percent for distribution companies and 5 percent for privately owned coal companies
• 15 percent for carbon-intensive industries, such as steel and cement, in 2014 (reduced by 2 percent every year)
• 10 percent for states for renewable energy and efficiency investment from 2012 to 2015 (reduced to 5 percent between 2016 to 2022)
• 9 percent for local natural gas distribution companies (reduced to zero between 2026 and 2030)
• 5 percent for tropical deforestation projects
• 3 percent for automakers toward advanced technologies through 2017 (reduced to 1 percent from 2018 and 2025)
• 2 percent for domestic adaptation to climate change between 2012 and 2021 (increases to 4 percent between 2022 to 2026, to 8 percent in 2027)
• 2 percent for international adaptation and clean technology transfer from 2012 to 2021 (increases to 4 percent between 2022 to 2026, to 8 percent in 2027)
• 2 percent for carbon capture and storage technology from 2014 and 2017 (increases to 5 percent after 2018)
• 2 percent for oil refineries from 2014 to 2026
• 1.5 percent for programs helping home heating oil and propane users (reduced to zero between 2026 and 2030)
• 1 percent for Clean Energy Innovation Centers for R&D funding
• 0.5 percent for job training from 2012 to 2021 (increases to 1 percent after 2022)

There is a combined renewable energy and energy efficiency standard of 20 percent by 2020 (15 percent for renewable energy and 5 percent in energy efficiency). If a state cannot meet the requirement, its governor may cut the renewable target to 12 percent and boost the energy efficiency goal to 8 percent.“This bill marks the dawn of the clean energy age,” said Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in a statement. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revive our economy and create millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.”


The bill, however, has some environmental groups expressing concern and recommending outright rejection.

“Congressmen Waxman and Markey have done an admirable job satisfying a lot of competing interests,” Liz Perera, Washington representative for Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate Program in a statement. “But now, as the bill moves forward, Congress needs to strengthen many of the bill’s provisions to ensure that we dramatically cut emissions, save consumers money, and strengthen our economy with a well-designed climate and energy policy.”Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and TheCLEAN.org coalition are calling for politicians to dump the bill and start over. 


Next we have a response document from GOP.gov, The website of Republicans in Congress: 

The Waxman-Markey Climate Legislation: Higher Energy Prices, Fewer Jobs, and More Government Intrusion


On March 31, 2009, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Waxman (D-CA) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Markey (D-MA) released their draft “American Clean Energy and Security” legislation. Both Chairman Waxman and Chairman Markey plan on considering their bill in Committee over the next few weeks.

Under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket … that will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers … -President Barack Obama, Meeting with the Editorial Board at the San Francisco Chronicle, January, 2008


Just shy of 650 pages, the Waxman-Markey bill contains four sections outlining mandates for renewable energy, mandates for energy efficiency, an incomplete cap-and-tax proposal, and a “transitioning” section focused on forestalling expected job loss. With regard to the cap-and-tax proposal in the bill, there are no specifics on how CO2 emissions allowances would be allocated to energy producers-in other words, will they be free or auctioned, and at what price. Therefore, the bill provides little for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to use to calculate its economic impact. However, in contrast to the details which are conveniently left out of the bill, there are plenty of details on how the plan increases energy prices, strains the economy, reduces jobs, and intrudes into private citizens lives.

– Higher Energy Prices: The bill imposes a national cap-and-tax regime that will tax every domestic energy producer for their carbon emissions-a tax which will inevitably be passed onto consumers. Independent researchers, CBO, and the President all agree that this cost will be passed to consumers. Furthermore, other provisions in the bill also increase the cost of energy, such as a new federal renewable electricity standard that will likely cause electricity prices to spike.

– Fewer Jobs: The bill does little to address the enormous loss of jobs that will ensue when U.S. industries absorb the cost of the cap-and-tax plan and other provisions, likely sending millions of American jobs overseas. In addition, the bill mandates undeveloped technologies for coal-fired plants, causing coal-fired plants to close when they cannot comply with federal regulation.

– More Government Intrusion: The bill creates a host of new federal mandates on everything from outdoor light bulbs and table lamps to water dispensers, commercial hot food cabinets, and Jacuzzis. The bill would also increase the demand for electricity (to fuel vehicles via new transportation mandates) at the same time as the other portions of the bill cause consumer electricity costs to spike.

To read the full response with point by point rebuttal go to:

This might be the most dangerous piece of legislation to come out of the House of Representatives this year from an economic impact standpoint (which considering what they have done so far that is saying something). This piece of legislation is Al Gore and environmentalists dream come true. Well almost, apparently the folks at Greenpeace and tree hugger.com can not support the bill in its’ watered down form. It is 650 pages of economic devastation and of course, nobody had time to read it. So in case the request was made for the bill to be read out loud as is often required the Democrats hired a speed reader – this is not a joke – they really hired a speed reader! 

First, let me say I do not really trust the Republicans or the Democrats in this dispute. However, common sense tells you that there are a multitude of unanswered questions in the global warming debate. This should lead one to wonder who the winners and losers in this are going to be. History shows that any time the government wants to create regulations like these somebody is going to get rich. More to come…..