Tea Party’s other big win: death of cap-and-trade

November 5, 2010

Looks like Tea Party America has busted a cap in cap-and-tax. Following sweeping Republican election victories, President Barack Obama has conceded his cap-and-trade plan to cut carbon emissions is dead for the foreseeable future. “I think there are a lot of Republicans that ran against the energy bill that passed in the House last year, Obama said at a Nov. 3 press conference. “And so it’s doubtful that you could get the votes to pass that through the House this year or next year or the year after.”

Yet Obama added that cap-and-trade  “was just one way of skinning the cat.” You see, the president has a plan B: Let the Environmental Protection Agency work its magic on American business. The EPA would begin regulating pollution from large factories and power providers starting in January. Now Obama acted like the agency has no choice. “The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction,” he added.

But that isn’t quite true. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had the right to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act – but it was not mandated to act. Even regulators admit this alternative is more economically harmful than a system where companies can offset carbon use by purchasing tradable permits. (And a straight carbon tax offset by payroll tax cuts would be even better.) But that drawback is a desirable feature to the White House. They’ve been hoping the threat of onerous EPA action would spur business to bring Republicans around.

The GOP response earlier this year was to try and strip the EPA of its relevant authority. The effort didn’t work, but it might next year. Republicans could try the same approach or attempt to cut funding for what it now mocks as the Employment Prevention Agency. Either measure would easily pass the GOP-controlled House. The Senate, still run by Democrats, would be a tougher slog. But between six additional Republicans and a dozen nervous red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2012, an anti-EPA bill might have the 60 votes needed for passage.

Obama could still veto the bill, of course. But legislation that merely forestalled EPA action until the economy perked up might stay his hand.  Or Republicans could attach it to some more important spending measure, reducing the chances of a veto. And the threat of defunding — and endless Capitol Hill hearings — could make the EPA think twice

If all else fails, business has its own Plan C: tie the agency up in court. The EPA’s last big clean air effort inspired a decade of legal challenges. One tactic works regardless of which party is in power: If you can’t legislate, litigate.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Mr Obama should make himself aware that Americans have seen through the climate dogma and no longer support decarbonization of American industry. Pew Research Oct 2010 (http://people-press.org/report/669/) show that:
– Only 34% think that Earth is warming through human activity
– 50% say the issue does not require immediate government action
Maybe he plans to send all these skeptic Americans to re-education camps, like Stalin did, because I don’t know how he is going to force his citizens to accept de-industrialization.

I suggest he stops relying on the patently corrupt political IPCC for scientific data, rescind EPA’s CO2 -is-a-pollutant non-sense and get a regulated scientific inquiry to determine what the science really tells us. This inquiry should do what skeptic volunteers have been doing – making sure all data is public, all manipulation of data is visible and justified, and results based on ‘lost’ data manipulation is expunged from the record.
In the meantime, mone should be redirected to mitigation of warming, cooling and weather events such as Katrina, which we can be certain will occur, whether through natural or man-made causes.

Posted by MichaelC58 | Report as abusive

[…] Tea Party’s other big win: death of cap-and-trade – Reuters Blogs (blog) Tea Party's other big win: death of cap-and-tradeReuters Blogs (blog)You see, the president has a plan B: Let the Environmental Protection Agency work its magic on American business. The EPA would begin regulating pollution …Voters didn't suddenly fall in love with Republicans, they fell out of love … Los Angeles Times (blog)The GOP's 2012 Game Plan Wall Street JournalZuckerman: America's Love Affair With Obama Is Over U.S. News & World ReportTorrington Register Citizen -Scientific American -Daily Mailall 9,703 news articles » Nov 06, 2010 4:46am […]

Posted by The News As IT Happens » Blog Archive » the american plan | Report as abusive

[…] emissions, so not all subsidies lead to a reduced cost of alternative forms of energy. …Tea Party's other big win: death of cap-and-tradeReuters Blogs (blog)Obama shifting climate strategy after GOP gainsWashington PostTuesday's […]

Posted by Energy Policy Explored As Cap-And-Trade Dies – NPR | Expand Your Carbon Footprint | Report as abusive

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carbon, Cindy Strout, fj, Warming Globe, Moonflower Starfire and others. Moonflower Starfire said: Tea Party's other big win: death of cap-and-trade | Analysis … http://bit.ly/dh2DR3 […]

Posted by Tweets that mention Tea Party’s other big win: death of cap-and-trade | Analysis & Opinion | — Topsy.com | Report as abusive

How many climate scientists did it take to change a light bulb? NONE. But they did have consensus that it would change.
Why wasn’t Climate Change ever regarded as the number one issue of prime importance to everyone since we were told climate change was to have been immanent death for the planet, as in SAVE THE PLANET?
Why did we enjoy condemning our kids to their graves with CO2 death warrants and CO2 death threats? This is liberal love?
Was it necessary to threaten my kids with death by CO2 just to get them to turn the lights out more often?
Why were there thousands of more “consensus” scientists than protesters?
Why did CO2 levels rise despite our contributing less with the world economic downturn?
Wouldn’t the plants have shown effects long before the climate would shown effects?
Why did the leftwing hope for the CO2 misery to really have happened and the rightwing discounted it as corrupt exaggerated and politicized science?
Why were scientists not called what they were, fallible and mortal human beings and lab coat consultants?
Didn’t scientists pollute the world in the first place with their chemicals?
Why didn’t the countless thousands of consensus scientists march in the streets if this was certain death we were facing?
Since Climate Change denied ancient climate, did the doomers therefore deny evolution too? Who’s the knuckle dragging neocon now?
Why didn’t the people know that the UN’s scientific warning, predicted the effects of CO2 were to have been anything from “nothing at all” to “unstoppable warming” (death)?
Will history view climate scientists as being to science what witch burners and The Crusades and abusive priests were to religion?
History has already shown that Climate Change was to the Democrats what the Iraq War was to the neocons, lies, and fear and politics.

Posted by DavidNutzuki | Report as abusive

[…] the GOP in the House should now be able to block such an attempt by stripping the EPA of authority, or else defunding the agency — forcing the Senate to block them, or the President to […]

Posted by “Mileage Rules Prompt Backlash” | Report as abusive

[…] anything, the Federal energy policies under Carter were even greener than they are today, yet they were repealed shortly afterward by a new administration which didn’t think much of […]

Posted by Solar Panels on the White House: What does it mean? | Maryland Solar Blog | Report as abusive