Friday, August 03, 2007

US Congress to debate Energy Bill

The US Congress is debating an Energy Bill today (HR 3221 – read it here). It is different from the recently passed Senate Energy Bill in a number of ways.

The most publicized difference: this Bill does not set new CAFE standards, not even the inadequate new standards in the Senate Bill. This is thanks to opposition from Democrats like John Dingell, a thorn in CAFE’s paw for years. Dingell’s op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post pulls a bait and switch, supporting a carbon tax but not mentioning CAFE by name. He should read this article from the New Yorker which is summarized in a comment a couple weeks back.

Otherwise, the bill is a grab-bag of different projects, many good (testing photovoltaic roofs), many oddly specific (no incandescent lights on coast guard vessels), many that will be labeled pork barrel (money for some rather specific biofuel programs) and many that will cause a double-take (a line item study on ice sheets!).

And then there is this:

Sec. 6102. MANAGEMENT OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS… so as to achieve zero net annual greenhouse gas emissions from the agencies by fiscal year 2050.”

Yep, the bills says all US government operations are to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the NY Times reports, that would include the Pentagon. Let’s just hope this isn’t used as an argument to shift to nuclear, rather than conventional, warfare.

That is one area where Iraq is leading the US; as Eli points out, if the present trend continues, electricity generation in Baghdad will become carbon neutral by the end of 2008.

UPDATE: President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.

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