August 5, 2012

This Week in Green Politics: 8/5/12

Lawmaker Proposes Carbon Pricing Bill

The big news this week: Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced legislation that would…wait for it…tax carbon emissions. McDermott's plan, the Managed Carbon Price Act, would set a price per quarter-ton of CO2, creating an economic incentive to cut pollution. Of the revenue produced, 25 percent would go toward deficit reduction, and 75 percent would go back to the public. The dividends would offset any price increases.

McDermott estimates that his bill would lower CO2 emissions by 80 percent of 2005 levels in forty-two years. You can read it section-by-section here.

Wind Energy Credit Is Back in the Senate Tax Plan

As Congress works to extend a set of soon-to-expire tax breaks, the wind energy production credit has been on and off. For now, though, the wind credit is in the Senate's "extenders" package.

Mitt Romney has expressed his intent to kill the wind incentive, along with the thousands of jobs it supports. His position is at odds with members of his own party. Iowa Governor Branstad had particularly strong words, possibly because wind supports 7,000 jobs in his state. He said of the Romney campaign, "[They] need to get out here in the real world and find out what's really going on."

Well put, Governor.


Cincinnati Bans Fracking Injection Wells

The Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously to ban the injection of fracking wastewater underground within the city limits. CityBeat reports:

It’s unclear if the city’s ban on wastewater injection would hold up against a 2004 state law that gives the state of Ohio sole power in regulating oil and gas drilling. That regulatory power also extends to Class 2 injection wells.


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has received no injection well permit requests for southwestern Ohio, but [Food and Water Watch organizer] Auciello says the legislation is a good preventive measure.


KOCH-FUNDED STUDY finds global warming is 'real' and 'essentially all due to carbon pollution'

First, a NYT op-ed by Richard Muller, a former vocal climate denier:

Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

What makes this interesting is that the single biggest funder of Muller's study is the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

The study's findings go further, noting "it appears likely that essentially of this increase results from human emissions…These finds are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change…"

In response, Michael Mann, a top US climatologist, tweeted, "At this rate, Muller should be caught up to the current state of climate science within a matter of just a few years!"