Yesterday the U.S. Senate began the debate regarding the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This bill could have tremendous impact on directing America’s energy future…more specifically its sustainable renewable energy future. The bill would reduce our greenhouse gas emisions by about 2/3 by 2050, but unfortunately it is mired in so many concerns that few believe it has any chance of passing. Here is a great overview on many of the issues tied to the bill on NPR
While there is significant debate on the merits of carbon offsets and distribution of credits in a cap-and-trade system as well as a the inclusion of benefits for nonrenewable, dirty energy sources, I believe the greatest hurdle will have nothing to do with the environmental failings or energy constituents. The true downfall will come through the current state of our economy. Everyone agrees that this bill will raise consumer energy costs at a time when we are approaching $4 a gallon. While McCain, Obama and Clinton all express concern for the environment and our energy crisis, it was little surprise that none attended the opening day of the debate. Despite our altruistic hopes, the buck stops with the buck for the American public.
If that was not enough, the White House has unequivocally stated that it plans to veto the bill if it makes it that far. Personally, I do not think we will ever have a perfect bill and taking the first step toward change is always the hardest. We should take that step regardless of any shortcomings. On a side note, I find it amusing that we are discussing emission rates in 2050 because I would be shocked if all the policies in this current bill are left unchanged by the year 2020 (I think there is a greater chance a new bill takes its place…this could be good or bad).