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The New York Times
It’s often said in Washington that if you anger both liberals and conservatives, you must be doing something right. By that measure, President Obama may have done something right with his offshore drilling plan, but he does not appear to have advanced his higher priority — passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill. Obama has not moved many GOP votes, if any. The Republicans who did praise his plan called it too little, too late. And any goodwill he has won from centrist Democrats could be offset by the scorn of environmental groups and liberal lawmakers who say their votes are in jeopardy if the climate plan leads to more coastal drilling.
The New York Times
The federal government issued final rules establishing the first greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles and light trucks on Thursday, ending a 30-year battle between regulators and automakers. The U.S. issued new rules that sets emissions and mileage standards for automobiles and light trucks. The new rules, jointly written by the Transportation Department and the , set emissions and mileage standards that will translate to a fleet average of 35.5 miles a gallon by 2016, nearly a 40 percent improvement over today’s fuel economy.
The EPA weighs the hidden costs of carbon (3/30/2010)
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency will do more than set new fuel efficiency standards for cars. It will put a price on carbon. Within this historic climate change regulation is a powerful new way of thinking about greenhouse gas emissions: as costs that will borne by society. Burning oil in cars imposes a steep price tag, from dirtier air now, to more expensive flood insurance in a decade, to potential climate catastrophe for our grandchildren.
The New York Times
Senators cobbling together a sweeping energy and climate bill are at the early stages of divvying up valuable emission allocations among regulated firms and well-financed interest groups. Their decisions are big ones, worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the climate program’s roughly 40-year lifespan. Already, lawmakers are fighting over who should get a bigger share of the allowances, as well as the broader philosophical mechanics of pricing greenhouse gases….
Council on Environmental Quality
Today, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released an interim progress report of the Inter agency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The report outlines the Task Force’s progress to date and recommends key components to include in a national strategy on climate change adaptation.
Economics for Equity and Environment
In its first attempts to regulate carbon emissions, the U.S. government is undermining its own efforts by relying on deeply flawed economic models that lead to gross miscalculations of the impact of carbon on the climate and on the nation’s economic future. Agencies seeking to incorporate climate change considerations in rules and regulations often rely on a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the cost of curbing emissions against the expected damages from every ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) that goes into the atmosphere — a value known as the “social cost of carbon” (SCC). The higher the SCC, the more stringent the regulatory standards: If it’s $5, say, only regulations that cost less than $5 to implement would be deemed worthwhile; if it’s $500, the demands imposed on polluters could be 100 times more costly. While no definite SCC has been set so far, an interagency working group has endorsed a “central” estimate of $21 per ton of CO2 in 2010, or roughly 20 cents per gallon of gasoline — far too small a price incentive to prompt substantive mitigation measures. If widely adopted, this low estimate of the SCC could result in ineffectual regulations that would barely reduce U.S. emissions, if at all.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
The CLEAR Act, introduced by Senators Maria Cantwell and Susan Collins, is an upstream CO2 cap-and-trade program with an allowance price collar and a 100% auction. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University analyzed the CLEAR Act and compared the results to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill, specifically the 5% discount rate scenario.
Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts
Boyce & Riddle find that interstate differences in the bill’s impact on household incomes are small: much smaller than differences across the income spectrum, and vastly smaller than the differences in other federal programs, such as defense spending. As a result, the CLEAR Act delivers positive net benefits to the majority of households in every state. Where there are interstate differences, Boyce & Riddle suggest ways in which the CLEAR Act could be modified to eliminate them altogether.