Under the Waxman-Markey cap and trade program, businesses that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must obtain allowance permits from the federal government for every ton of carbon emissions they produce. The government issues fewer allowance permits in each subsequent year to decrease overall emissions, so the permit price rises as the reduction in supply has to meet the same demands.
During his campaign run, President Obama told Grist: “I believe that, depending on how it is designed, a carbon tax accomplishes much of the same thing that a cap-and-trade program accomplishes. The danger in a cap-and-trade system is that the permits to emit greenhouse gases are given away for free as opposed to priced at auction. One of the mistakes the Europeans made in setting up a cap-and-trade system was to give too many of those permits away.”
Well, guess what? The Members of Congress in the House of Representatives made the same mistake.
The Waxman-Markey climate change bill, a 1,427-page special-interest wish list, was put together in such a rush that the allowance permit numbers don’t add up. If you add the percentage of emissions allowances to various special interests in the years 2016 and 2017 and you get a value greater than one hundred percent. That’s right—the bill allocates nearly a billion dollars worth of allowances over and above the emissions “cap” set for those respective years.
Thousands of lobbyists worked on this bill to secure a piece of the allowance pie. These special interests range from the natural gas industry to the auto industry. Even tropical rainforests made the list. Electric utilities were the big winners, receiving 43.75 percent of the allowances in 2012 and 2013. Petroleum refiners didn’t fare as well, receiving only 2.25 percent of the emissions allowances from 2014-2026. Lobbyists brought their A-game to shape this bill and Members caved into their demands, all but guaranteeing this bill will do nothing for the environment. And it comes at the expense of the ratepayer and the taxpayer.
With over 12,500 registered lobbyists in Washington, it’s no surprise that this bill turned into a feeding frenzy that was rushed through in the middle of the night and promises more than it can actually hand out. Waxman-Markey is nothing more than a huge energy tax and a handout for special interests.
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