America drags its heels over landmark bill

Congress narrowly voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. It is now more than a year later and the act still has not been passed by the Senate. This clearly shows the reluctance of lawmakers to enshrine into law a bill that clearly makes the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. At the heart of the legislation is a cap-and-trade program that will impact on such carbon fuel intensive industries as the aviation industry. The failure to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act is a clear example of how certain industries use lobbyists successfully to dictate American policy.

The main parts of the bill are:

  • Electric companies to meet 20% of the demand for electricity through renewable energy by 2020.
  • A Reduction of carbon emissions from major US sources by 17% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
  • A cap-and-trade program that gives 85% of carbon permits to utilities, heavy industries and refineries.
  • A manadate for new energy saving standards for buildings and appliances and a drive to promote energy efficiency in industry.
  • Extended production of electrical vehicles.
  • Investment to stop tropical deforestation.

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates the bill would cost the average US household no more than $80 to $111 a year or 22 cents to 30 cents a day.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has calculated that the bill would in the long run save US households $1,050 and would produce 30,000 new jobs by 2020.

It is clear that the main reason for this bill stalling in the Senate is a political one. Industry continues to use its pull in Washington to prevent ‘regulation’ that it sees as inimical to profit making. In the light of the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill the ideology of government allowing a laissez-faire approach to major industries is absurd. Americans clearly want their government to intervene to insure the protection of the environment. It is not a matter of big or small government but of securing the future health of the country.

The Dirty Secret of The American Clean Energy and Security Act.