Monday, October 26, 2009

Clean Energy, The EPA and a Question

schoolhouse rock bill2 Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) released what called the chairman’s mark of the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill, called the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733). At least, this is an accurate title – bills are often called something benign despite repulsive contents, but this one hits the goals of the bill. While it’s about 100 pages longer than the previous draft version, the nuclear section is much as it was – the focus remains workforce, used fuel management and safety.

We expect this section – and all the sections – to gain more provisions as the bill moves along.

Grist’s David Nelson points out one notable difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill:

it retains EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Nelson doubts this will survive the process. We’re not really sure why this bill would not take precedence over EPA since it establishes the same kind of carbon reduction regime and EPA would be involved in implementing it. But we’ll see.

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EPA, speaking of that agency, released a report of this bill, looking at it (pdf) under various scenarios. Main takeaway: if nuclear energy is not part of the mix, the goals become harder to meet.

However, in scenarios with limits on the availability of technologies such as nuclear, biomass, and CCS, the limits on international offset usage would be reached.

Which is not what you want to have happen.

The fewer international offsets allowed by S. 1733 compared to H.R. 2454 in these limited technology scenarios would require an extra 9.5 GtCO2e [billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent] of abatement from covered sources cumulatively over the 2012 – 2050 time frame, and would result in higher allowance prices.

Not good, either.

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The National Journal asked its group of insiders this question:

Q: Could you see yourself supporting a cap-and-trade bill if it included significant incentives for nuclear energy?

Okay, now guess the percentage of support based on party affiliation.

Ready?

Democrats 81-16

Republicans 3-95

But wait, don’t Republicans heavily favor nuclear energy? There’s the rub – not enough to embrace cap-and-trade. (And remember, too, this is a single question poll – lots of potential follow-up questions not asked). Still, interesting to see that the Democrats accept nuclear energy in such heavy numbers.

See the story for respondent’s comments – they really tell the tale.

I’m Just a Bill was created for Schoolhouse Rock, a series of 3-minute interstitial segments made for Saturday morning children’s programming on ABC. Ideated by adman David McCall as a song, which his agency later thought would make a viable cartoon. The series started in 1973 and, even though the cartoons played for a couple of decades, they always retained a sort of Free-to-Be 70s vibe to them. I remember these as being pretty clever and better animated than most of the fare surrounding them.

1 comment:

DocForesight said...

As Sen. Inhofe has recently suggested, separate the climate aspect from the energy development aspect and let them stand or fall on their own merits.

Why muddy the waters with, what some consider, conflicting debate topics? It seems to me it would by a pyrric victory to win additional nuclear- favorable language and actions while handcuffing the overall economy with cap-and-tax penalties.