James Pethokoukis

More business attacks on climate change bill

August 28, 2009

I don’t think cap-and-trade is going anywhere soon, but its opponents are not letting up on the pressure (via The Hill):

Republicans, the carbon tax and the 2010 election

August 26, 2009

My pal and superbrain Jon Henke got all excited for a minute when he thought that U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut Rob Simmons was in favor of a carbon tax where the revenue would be used to eliminate payroll taxes. But then the Simmons campaign clarified the matter:

Cap-and-trade has a China problem

August 10, 2009

(Lightly microblogging this week from The Great White North)

There is no way this passes US Senate unless it has a tariff that penalizes nations who are not capping climate emissions, such as India and China.  So not only would cap-and-trade create more taxes and regulation, it might spur a bout of protectionism. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Where cap-and-trade and healthcare are heading …

July 20, 2009

While both healthcare and cap-and-trade look to be in various degrees of trouble, some savvy Capitol Hill watchers make this point to me: Democrats look at failure to do something about healthcare as an Extinction Level Event, with a failure on cap-and-trade also incredibly damaging, particularly with the Dem base.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told wavering Dems that a cap-and-trade failure was a dagger in the Obama presidency. She pushed them to the wall. Healthcare even more so.  Expect a full-court press in the Senate on both. At the same, either of those issues slipping into 2010 is fatal to their chances. The next five months may make or break the Obama presidency.

How Goldman Sachs is hurting cap-and-trade

July 20, 2009

My sources have been unrelentingly negative about the chances of a cap-and-trade bill getting passed, but far less so about a renewable energy standard on electricity providers. So any suggestion to split the Waxman-Markey approach into separate cap-and-trade and RES bills, as  Sen. Byron Dorgan is doing,  is a big negative for capandtraders.  It’s also amazing to see how the current anti-Wall Street sentiment is hurting cap-and-trade because of the perceptions that financial firms will make a mint in the trading of emission permits. Here is a bit from a recent Dorgan op-ed piece:

Shock! Climate change expert favors hyping global warming threat

July 15, 2009

This bit from an  interview with Nobel Prize-winning economist and climate change worrier Thomas Schelling is a stunner (bold is mine):

Is cap-and-trade a lump of coal for Democrats?

July 10, 2009

The wonderful Jennifer Rubin of the Contentions blog opines thusly:

By December we will see how attractive a massive energy tax would be. (Talk about a lump of coal in your stocking.) But Boxer is smart to shove this off to the side. Democrats who cast a hard vote in the House and are now being pummeled by conservatives, business and taxpayer groups, and potential opponents (as are the Republican Eight who are in the dog house with the base). Those who supported cap-and-trade despite warnings about job losses and the adverse impact on the already struggling economy (especially in energy-producing states) are finding little support for having placed a pet issue on the liberal wish-list ahead of their constituents’ economic interests. Then the G-8 didn’t help matters either. And really, if the EPA’s own administrator says it will have no effect on climate, what’s the point of the whole exercise?

A global green war on the wealthy?

July 7, 2009

This report from my Reuters colleagues is a stunner:

WASHINGTON, July 6 (Reuters) – To fairly divide the climate change fight between rich and poor, a new study suggests basing targets for emission cuts on the number of wealthy people, who are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, in a country. Since about half the planet’s climate-warming emissions come from less than a billion of its people, it makes sense to follow these rich folks when setting national targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the authors wrote on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … The study suggests setting a uniform international cap on how much carbon dioxide each person could emit in order to limit global emissions; since rich people emit more, they are the ones likely to reach or exceed this cap, whether they live in a rich country or a poor one. …  Is this a limousine-and-yacht tax on the rich? Not necessarily, [author] Chakravarty said, but he did not rule it out: “We are not by any means proposing that. If some country finds a way of doing that, it’s great.”

The slim odds of cap-and-trade making it into law

July 1, 2009

A great point from Pete Davis over at Capital Gains and Games:

On April 1, 2009, 26 coal and manufacturing state Democrats joined all 41 Senate Republicans in favor of Senator Mike Johann’s (R-NE) amendment to the Budget Resolution, S.Con.Res.13, disallowing the use of “reconciliation” to pass a Climate Change bill.  “Reconciliation” would allow passage by a majority vote instead of the 60 votes normally needed to pass major bills.  It would also prevent extraneous killer amendments.  Some of those 26 Democrats may feel secure enough of their reelection chances to vote in favor of a Climate Change bill this fall, but many won’t.  That’s why I’d be surprised if the Senate can pass a Climate Change bill this year.  I could be proven wrong if President Obama can mount enough public pressure on those 26 Senate Democrats to turn them around, but that would be a tall order.

This is what Pelosi should have said about cap-and-trade …

June 30, 2009

This is much punchier than “jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.” James Lovelock (via the Climate Progress blog):