Cap-and-Trade Is Alive

Katy Grimes: The smack down that Prop 23 received by supporters heavily invested in AB 32, should have tipped us off that the global warming push in the U.S. is bigger than anyone realized.

The Northeast states are living proof that cap-and-trade is alive. One gross example is the The Maryland Energy Administration, which claims “By managing federal stimulus money and other funds, MEA helps Maryland families and businesses discover ways to improve energy efficiency by doing things like adopting compact fluorescent light bulbs and replacing old appliances with EnergyStar-rated upgrades.” The MEA also claims “We save money for tax payers by helping residentsbusinesses and State and Local governments reduce their Statewide carbon footprint, and we increase the use of renewable energy by leveraging public and private partnerships to improve the competitive position of Maryland industry.”

In a Dec. 1 opinion column for the Baltimore Sun, journalists Tim Wheeler and Meredith Cohn wrote, “Cap & trade may be a dead letter in Congress, but the carbon-dioxide emission auction set up by Maryland and other northeastern states to combat climate change has yielded millions of dollars for cleaner and more efficient energy – all without destroying the region’s economy, as critics have claimed it would if applied nationwide.”

Wheeler and Cohn tout the MEA’s latest $2 million grant, which comes from  the federal Regional Greenhouse Gas Inititiative, “in which Maryland and other states have imposed caps on carbon dioxide emissions from their power plants and regularly auction off credits or permits for emissions of the climate-warming gas.”

This is crazy talk.

The RGGI is a highly suspicious cap-and-trade non-profit, that many claim is funded by the government. And it’s hard not to suspect the group when reading about it – “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created to support development and implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and is a cooperative effort among ten states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

It’s a “cooperative” effort among ten states.

Cooperative or not, President Obama previously warned that his administration would regulate emissions in a “command-and-control” system, even if Congress fails to pass legislation.

But in some states, cap-and-trade has been going on for several years.

A recent Voice of America story reported, “Energy analyst Nick Loris of the conservative Heritage Foundation says that view is reflected in the desire by some new legislators for a new direction for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

“They want to get to the root of the science behind global warming,” says Loris, “and create more of an objective platform to allow different climatologists with dissenting views to bring their expertise to the table and create and honest and transparent debate, rather than one that says the science is settled, which is what happened in the past with the committee in the past.”

Regardless of Obama’s promise or threat, or the fact that many states are already enacting business restricting policies under the guise of limiting carbon emissions, should give everyone the heebie-jeebies.

And despite the fact that most Republicans are completely against using tax payer money to subsidize technologies in the fight against climate change, in a state like California now under total Democratic control from top to bottom, expect climate change policies to be enacted. California politicians ran on climate change as part of the Democratic platform, and feel they have a mandate.

Bloomberg news recently reported that California, New Mexico and 10 U.S. Northeastern states will probably try to create their own North American carbon market. “The emissions-trading system would be based on a planned carbon market in California, the most populous state, and an existing regional cap-and-trade program for power plants in the Northeast, according to state environmental officials. Three Canadian provinces have also shown interest in a cross-border carbon-trading system, the officials said.”

Keep an eye on the California Air Resources Board, since Mary Nichols, CARB’s chairwoman, is said to be looking into the Northeast states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative trading program, the story reported. Isn’t it interesting that this news was not available here in California.

But I wouldn’t count out Prop 23’s supporters just yet. After all, the measure was designed only to temporarily suspend AB 32 until the economy improved. As long as the economy stinks in this state, everyone is hurting, including Democratic voters.

DEC. 6, 2010

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