Climate Legislation: Still Breathing?

Since I did a post earlier today indicating the cap-and-trade legislation is unlikely to become law in the near term, it’s only fair that I also do a post on efforts by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman to resuscitate the legislation. The bill’s prospects are too uncertain to spend too much time on the details. In short, it would include a phased-in approach to regulation, starting with the biggest emitters, such as utilities, combined with a carbon tax on transportation fuels that has been supported by several major oil companies.

To me, the most notable statements come from Senator Graham, the only Republican in the gang of three. Senator Graham has turned out to be one of the more intriguing and less predictable members of Congress in recent years. This may have its pluses and minuses and I have no idea whether he can bring any GOP support along, but you have to sit up and take notice when a Republican says

Cap and trade as we know it is dead, but the issue of cleaning up the air and energy independence should not die — and you will never have energy independence without pricing carbon.

Of course, he’s right. The sad thing is that the rest of his party has so demonized any and all taxes that no Democrat could possibly say something like this – and many of the distortions in the various bills we’ve seen to date have resulted from strenuous efforts to avoid having consumers see any price signals about the cost of carbon emissions.

Keep sayin’ it, Brother Graham.


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