So now that the Waxman-Markey bill has passed the House, we can all breath a sigh of relief right? Unfortunately, no. Hopes are high as the United States ventures into breaking ground with its first piece of climate legislation. Yet many are also disappointed with the implications of the bill.
For one thing, the bill still bases its reductions on the 450 ppm (parts per million) carbon level, rather than the more realistic and recommended level of 350 ppm. Then it goes a step further (maybe lower is a better word here), since, the way it looks now, the bill will help in making a big, no gigantic, reduction of about 4-5% by the year 2020. The bill says its 17%, but that’s based on the 450 ppm level, which just won’t work.
The other problem is the amount of carbon allowances that will be given directly back to the companies who just paid them. Polluting entities are set up to get all the way up to 85% back of the fines they will pay for excess emissions.
So how does a climate bill end up rewarding polluters more and setting pretty insignificant numbers for pollution reduction? Wasn’t the point of this bill to begin punishing polluters who have gone too far and begin helping people who are in need in our country by helping provide new job opportunities and moving to cleaner energy?
This scenario with this bill has gotten so bizarre that my friend has begun calling it the Wackey-Merman bill, which, in his words, is, “like a mythic half/man, half/sea creature: the head has the science that tells us what is necessary yet the lower half of the body is the slimy political part that can’t seem to walk the talk.”