Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Climate Bill Passes the House

As this article talks about, the climate bill just passed the House - the first time either house has passed a bill which would limit greenhouse gas emissions based on the fact that they contribute to global warming. So... yay!!

BUT it still needs to pass the Senate. Also, the bill has been significantly watered down since the original version. The bill would require utilities to secure 15% of their electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal) by 2020, but this is down from the original amount of 25% by 2025.
The bill includes a cap-and-trade system, but instead of all the credits being auctioned off to the highest bidder, 85% of the credits would be given away at the beginning of the program. Isn't that nice of the government. Oh, and the refineries will even receive money to help them adapt to the new standards.
So the bill's not great, but it's the best thing we have, so it needs to happen. I disagree with Thomas Friedman on a lot of things, but according to his new op-ed piece, we agree on this. There is never going to be a bill that pleases everyone, especially one that pleases both the environmentalists and the refineries. But this bill is an important first step in the right direction. Just simply regulating greenhouse gases is an important statement that the House is making. There's no turning back now. Basically the U.S. government is finally admitting that greenhouse gases are causing climate change / global warming / whatever we are calling it and that the government has a responsibility to reduce the impact of U.S. industries on the climate.
So I will take what I can get. A weak climate bill is better than no climate bill, and hopefully it will lead to bills that actually make a bigger difference.