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If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here (or now)

June 2nd, 2007

I’ve had a quick look at the report of the PM’s Task Group on Emissions Trading. It gives a pretty good summary of the main issues, constrained by the political requirement that it should not even look at the obvious implication of an argument for participation in an international emissions trading scheme, namely that we should ratify Kyoto forthwith. The choice of 2012 (when Kyoto expires) as the target date neatly avoids the issue, as well as meeting the political imperative of not endorsing what Labor has proposed.

The main implication of the Report is that we should have got started on all this ten years ago (or at least, back in 2003 when Howard killed the idea), and that we’ll now have a more costly adjustment path than if we had acted sooner.

Something of a surprise is that the McKibbin-Wilcoxen hybrid idea didn’t get more than a couple of brief mentions. Some of the leaks I saw suggested that the Task Group might go this way, as did Howard’s rhetoric about an “Australian, practicaL” scheme. As I mentioned a while back, the big problem with this idea is its incompatibility international trading, and this is presumably why the Task Group didn’t go this way.

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  1. rs
    June 6th, 2007 at 07:50 | #1

    So, in 1997ish 95+% of the US Senate is against Kyoto, but by 2003 they’re almost half for a domestically controlled similarish system in The Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act. Yet 4 years after that, nothing like it has been proposed again (or if it has, it hasn’t passed) even with more Democrats in 2006 than in 2003. Perhaps some of the initiatives since 2003 that have been proposed by Bush was sufficient? Or all they all just postering? Some of each, probably.

    Anyway, the bill would have capped 2010 aggregate for 85% of the 2000 US GHG emissions (as defined by the EPA’s Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks) in electricity generation, transportation, industrial, and commercial economic sectors, by having the EPA Administrator promogulate regulations to limit such emissions. It excluded agricultural and residential sectors and allowed the Admisitrator to exempt certain subsectors if he (or in other words the people that work for him at the agency) determined it was not feasible to measure the emissions of those subsectors. The Commerce Dept would have been the one to re-evaluate the levels of allowances to see if they met those of the UN FCCC. Those allowances would have been either grandfathered or auctioned. Some flexibilty mechanisms, penalties and the allowance system are discussed. It would also have established an NSF scholarship program for students of climate change areas and the Commerce Department researching technology transfer and the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. industrial competitiveness and international scientific cooperation.

    Interesting. Wonder why it didn’t pass. Seems like some good ideas.

    Now that I think about it, that makes the Supreme Court decision to have the EPA relook their non-regulation of the GHGs in the case not make much sense. If Legislative wanted the EPA to do something, they would have passed the bill, and if Executive wanted the EPA to do something, it might have directed them to do so (although conceptually, Executive has decided to decentralize it and let the agency decide it appears). In light of that, I’m very confused how the Judicical could have determined that’s what the Clean Air Act covered. Oh well.



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