Waxman Markey – Why Such Haste? You Would Be Surprised

Posted on Mon 08/03/2009 by



The title may say ‘Waxman Markey’, but the same applies here in Australia as well, as the incumbent Government madly rushes ahead with a scheme to introduce a Carbon Cap and Trade Bill, neatly called here in Australia the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. (CPRS)

It has passed through the lower House, The Representatives, and now goes before the Senate, similar to what is happening in the U.S.

Here in Australia, the Government easily has control of that lower house, and the Bill passed easily on the numbers. Sometimes you even wonder why they even bother setting aside time for debate, because no matter what is said, when the vote is taken, it just goes by the numbers. Those from the Labor side of politics (the same political leanings as your Democrats) who may not agree with it still would not dare stand on their own two feet and vote against the Bill, so Bills like this always just get rubber stamped, no matter what is said.

However, here in Australia, the Senate is an entirely different proposition altogether. In the Senate, the two Conservative parties have almost the same number of Senators as does the Government. The Greens have a small number of Senators, and there are three Independents. All parties except the Government oppose this Bill in the Senate. The Conservatives oppose it because they say that the Government has gone too far, The Greens , well, they oppose everything just on principle, but on this Bill, they oppose it because they say the Government has not gone far enough. The Independents oppose it because they also lean on the ‘too far’ direction. So, the Bill has no chance of passing through the Senate.

Because of that, the Government is daily warning us of the most dire things that will happen if the Bill does not pass through the Senate. Each day we hear of impending catastrophe, and Government ministers and members come out of the woodwork telling the public that they should be lobbying their Senators to pass the Bill, and pass it at the soonest sitting, coming up soon, when the Bill will be introduced as a matter of urgency.

Does all this sound familiar?

The same is happening in the U.S. where we are told that Waxman Markey must be passed as soon as possible, so it can be brought into law as soon as possible.

Hang on a minute.

Why is there such a huge rush to pass this Bill in the U.S. and also a similar Bill here in Australia?

Why the unseemly haste?

Well, you see, the UN meeting in Copenhagen is fast approaching, coming up very soon indeed. That meeting, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC) is meeting to try and find a way to replace the now patently failed Kyoto Protocol with a new protocol, hopefully one that can work.

This is becoming more and more problematical as the meeting approaches. The sticking point is not the U.S. It’s not Australia. It’s not the Developed Countries. All of those have, with such deafening fanfare, all started to move in the direction of ‘supposedly’ cutting back their emissions with introduction of Carbon Trading.

The problem lies with those Countries that are still developing. They are constructing power plants at an almost blinding rate, and because coal fired plants, the largest of those CO2 emitters are the cheapest, and because coal is still relatively cheap, these plants are the ones they are building the fastest, and in fact, both China and to a lesser extent India, are bringing on line one of those large coal fired plants every seven days.

They are not doing this because they are environmental vandals of the worst kind. No. They are doing it so that they can bring to their people something that we in the Developed World take entirely for granted, access to constant reliable electricity.

Because these Developing Countries are doing this, they are now becoming huge emitters of that CO2 we are told is destroying the World.

There is the sticking point at this upcoming UN meeting in Copenhagen. Those Developing Countries will not envision cutting back on bringing themselves into the 20th Century, let alone the 21st Century we live in. To that end, they will never agree to cutbacks on the scale that we in the Western World are being asked to do.

If they are to even partially come to the party, then those Developing Countries are asking (and quite rightfully as well) that those of us in the Developed World should contribute towards their sacrifice, and by contributions here. we are talking trillions of dollars.

There again is a further sticking point, effectively now put back on us in the Developed World.

So then, what does all this have to do with passing Waxman Markey and the Australian version, the CPRS?

This Copenhagen meeting will achieve very little, because both sides will not agree. All the emphasis will be placed on China especially, and there will be a concerted effort to paint them as environmental vandals on a huge scale, without explaining just what the main reason is as to why they are constructing these coal fired power plants on such a scale. So, no real effective replacement for Kyoto will be found. There will be some actual achievement, because I just cannot imaging the UN coming out and flat out saying that the whole thing was a complete failure, because I feel sure they would not be wanting to lose face on such a huge scale, but believe me, there will be no success on this front at all. It will be as problematic as was Kyoto, in fact even more so, because China has come a long way since the original Kyoto, and they will not be going backwards, trust me.

Now come back to the present.

How easy is it going to be trying to pass a Bill through the Senate AFTER Copenhagen fails, and fails so dramatically?

THAT is why those Bills in the U.S. and here in Australia need to be passed now, before Copenhagen, because after that meeting, it will be a ‘dead duck’, and all but impossible to try and get public opinion on side, let alone Senators enough to pass it through and into Law.

Still you say, then why the haste now?

It really has nothing at all to do with the Environment.

Even if it is passed, any cutbacks in the Developed World will not only be totally ineffective, they will in fact be useless, because what those Developing Countries will be doing will not only negate any of our cutbacks, but CO2 levels will actually increase.

Why then the haste right now before Copenhagen?

Consider this.

Those emissions from the power generating sector in the U.S. amount to nearly 4 Billion tons, the largest of the CO2 emissions, and in fact making up around 30% of overall emissions. That being the case, then overall emissions of CO2 in the U.S. amount to around 13.5 Billion tons.

The sole purpose of Waxman Markey is to impose a dollar value on that CO2, and remember that during the run up to the election, (then) Senator Obama said he would like to see the auctioning of those credits, that he would like to see the price starting at $50 per ton, and he would be happy to see the price go up considerably from that, and also that necessarily, electricity prices would skyrocket. (his words)

At a start point of $50 per ton, and with 13.5 billion tons being emitted, well, you do the math.

Now perhaps the idea is sinking in as to why the inordinate haste to get this Bill through the Senate, and before Copenhagen.

After Copenhagen, passing any Bill like this will be all but impossible.

That is why there is a sudden rush to railroad this Bill through your Senate, and our Senate here in Australia. Not because it will set a good example at Copenhagen. China, India, and other Developing Countries will just say to them, “well, you do what you like. We will not agree to anything that stops us dead in our tracks.”

So, when you hear that the Senate needs to pass this Bill, and pass it right now, be fully aware that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the environment.

It’s just about Government getting their hands on an endless pot of money, because people will still demand electrical power, and those plants will still be running flat out to produce that power, still emitting the same amounts of CO2. The only difference now is that the Government will be asking those coal fired power plants to pay for each ton they emit, and those plants will pass on that cost directly down to you the consumers of that electricity.

It has nothing to do with the environment. It’s just about the money.