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Democrats Unveil Ambitious Global Warming Bill
John M. Broder, New York Times
The debate on global warming and energy policy accelerated on Tuesday as two senior House Democrats unveiled a far-reaching bill to cap heat-trapping gases and move the country quickly from dependence on coal and oil.
But the bill leaves crucial questions unanswered and as of now has no Republican support. For those reasons, it marks the beginning, not the end, of debate in the current Congress on how to deal with two of President Obama’s top priorities, climate change and energy.
(31 March 2009)
Climate Bill Kickoff
Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones
Henry Waxman and Edward Markey unveil sweeping climate change legislation. The green crowd goes wild.
On the first day, Henry Waxman created a draft. And the enviros said it was good.
Rep. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has promised to deliver comprehensive climate change legislation to President Obama within the year. On Tuesday, the California congressman, along with Rep. Edward Markey, released a “discussion draft” of what is currently being called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. It’s a piece of legislation that could dramatically reshape the country’s energy economy.
The 648-page draft legislation, which addresses virtually every aspect of the fight against global warming, was quickly embraced by green groups.
The bill would require “retail electricity suppliers” (that is, utility companies) to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. It seeks stronger fuel standards for cars, paves the way for the development of a smart electricity grid, and provides financial incentives to retailers who sell high volumes of energy-efficient appliances. It creates grants for universities and colleges to develop curricula that will train a generation of professionals ready to work in renewable energy and climate change mitigation. And it instructs the labor secretary to create training programs that help workers from dying industries transition into ones bolstered by the bill.
(31 March 2009)
Climate Change Bill Could Side-Swipe Oilsands
Sheldon Alberts, Calgary Herald
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled draft climate change legislation to slash America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, setting the stage for a protracted and intense political debate in Washington that has potentially major consequences for Canada’s energy industry.
The 648-page draft bill would establish a carbon cap-and-trade system to help industry achieve the greenhouse gas reductions, but sidesteps the politically explosive issue of how new emissions credits would be distributed to U.S. companies.
The legislation would also impose low-carbon standards for gasoline and other transportation fuels, rules that could make it more difficult for U.S. refineries to sell fuel produced from Alberta’s carbon-intensive oilsands.
“This is not a ban on tarsands oil. But it is definitely a disincentive, because it has higher emissions,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Canadian program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
(1 April 2009)
Projects Premier says he will fight if new developments threaten New Brunswick’s energy hub
Quentin Casey, Telegraph-Journal
FREDERICTON – Premier Shawn Graham sent a shot across the bows of his Atlantic Canadian counterparts Tuesday, saying the other three provinces cannot simply expect to build new energy projects and then ship the electrical power to the United States through New Brunswick’s power grid.
As well, Graham took what is his perhaps his most aggressive stance yet in dealing with the federal government. He referred to Ottawa as “Johnny-come-lately” in assisting energy projects in the region, while also questioning new funds he contends will help the other Atlantic provinces compete against New Brunswick in supplying power to the U.S.
“New Brunswick has been out in front on developing an energy hub for the past two years,” he said in an interview. “Our government is not going to allow other jurisdictions to catch up to us (to the) detriment of what we’re trying to obtain here.”
(1 April 2009)
EB contribut Larry Hughes writes:
This is an example of how important infrastructure is to energy supply and energy security. New Brunswick wants to connect its proposed wind, natgas, and nuclear facilities to New England through a 1,500MW line — other provinces wanting to use the line will no doubt be expected to pay a premium. If Premier Graham sticks to his guns, both the Nova Scotia government’s and Nova Scotia Power’s assumptions about accessing the Lower Churchill have suffered a bit of a setback.
U.S. power use tumbling with recession
Scott DiSavino and Eileen O’Grady, Reuters
U.S. electricity demand will continue to shrink in 2009 as the economic meltdown hits industrial power consumption, but a rebound could come in 2010.
Bigger houses, a myriad of electric devices and an expanding economy have kept U.S. power use on a nearly uninterrupted climb for 25 years – until the recession put the brakes on industrial demand in 2008.
Electricity sales to industrial customers are expected to shrink 6.4 percent this year, leading to an expected 1.7 percent drop in overall power consumption in 2009, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its most recent outlook.
(30 March 2009)