Sunday, August 9, 2020
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Democrats Underestimate How Much American Voters Punish Weakness

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The great irony is that by the very act of putting political considerations ahead of clear constitutional duty and profound national interest, the Democrats...

Thursday News: “Trump Could Be Israel’s Worst Nightmare”; “Paul Ryan’s idiotic...

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by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, December 29. Also check out John Kerry's superb speech,...

Wednesday News: White House Prepares to Punish Russia for Hacking Our...

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by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, December 28. White House prepares covert action, sanctions to...

John Kerry Rips Republicans, Wikileaks

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Well, John Kerry certainly wasn't pulling any punches on Meet the Press this morning. First, here's Sen. Kerry on the Republicans:
...The Republicans are fighting to keep in place a tax policy that has failed over the last eight years.  It has failed.  We have had a net loss of jobs, and what we've seen is a Republican Party that's absolutely prepared to deny unemployment insurance to people who have been laid off, who can't pay their bills, who want to, you know, put food on the table for their families.  They've said, "No, we're willing to hold that hostage so that we can give the wealthiest people in the country a bonus tax cut." ...What they're fighting for is to give those people who earned more than a million dollars a year a bonus tax cut above that, even though it's the least effective way of creating jobs and, and putting impact into the economy.
Great stuff, John Kerry was on fire this morning, maybe because he was sick and tired of listening to the guy who preceded him on the show, lying weasel Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Anyway, that was just a warmup.  If you enjoyed that, join me on the "flip" for more.

Conference Call With John Kerry on American Power Act

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I just got off a conference call with Senator John Kerry and others regarding the American Power Act.  Here are some highlights from notes I typed while on the call. Note that I specifically asked him about this issue, that "neighboring states would also be allowed to veto [offshore oil] drilling."  In brief, Kerry's response was that states have to have some voice in determining whether they are exposed to the "significant risks" entailed by offshore oil drilling in neighboring states, so they get to vote - the "ultimate democratic process."

Now, on to my notes, which are not exact quotes but a rough account of what each speaker said.  My understanding is that the entire call will be available later today at this address.

Preview of Kerry-Lieberman Clean Energy/Climate Bill

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Tomorrow will be the unveiling of the long-awaited, Kerry-Lieberman clean energy/climate change bill (the "American Power Act"). Based on what I'm hearing, my understanding is that the Act will...

*...refund 2/3 of revenues raised not dedicated to reducing the deficit right back to consumers. Eventually, that will rise to 100% of revenues not dedicated to reducing the deficit going back to consumers.

*...invest in all domestic energy sources - renewables, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear - while rebuilding our nation's energy infrastructure.

*...aim to kick our foreign oil addiction.

*...use different approaches for different sectors (e.g., power plants, heavy industry, transportation).

*...set up a carbon market that is simple and secure, with no chance of being manipulated.

*...invest $2 billion per year for development of carbon capture and sequestration methods.

*...encourage the use of American natural gas.

*...exempt farmers from carbon pollution compliance provisions of the bill.

*...invest in clean energy R&D.

*...have industrial sources enter the program in 2016, at which point industries that are energy-intensive and trade-exposed will receive allowances to offset compliance costs.

*...improve transportation infrastructure and efficiency.

*...set a hard price collar to ensure price predictability.

*...lay out one set of national rules, as opposed to a patchwork of conflicting state and federal regulations.

*...forbid states from operating their own cap-and-trade programs.

*...allow states to opt out of drilling up to 75 miles from their coasts.

*...give states that pursue offshore oil drilling 37.5% of revenues, in part to help them protect their coastlines from environmental harm.

*...reduce CO2 emissions by 17% in 2020 and 80% in 2050.

At first glance, this looks promising to me, but as the saying goes, "the devil's in the details" (and there are a LOT of details in this bill)!  Still, we badly need to get clean energy and climate change legislation, including a meaningful price (one way or the other) on CO2, for powerful economic, environmental, and national security (e.g., stop funding countries and non-state actors that want to hurt us) reasons. The main reason why, despite its flaws, I supported the Waxman-Markey bill in the House of Representatives, is because it enshrined the principle that there has to be a price signal for CO2. Currently, this is a huge "externality" and also a huge market failure.

By putting a price on CO2, we can harness the power of the marketplace to jumpstart a clean energy, low-carbon revolution in this country, one that will pay huge dividends for years to come. That's why I strongly urge the Congress to move forward on strong, serious clean energy and climate change legislation this year. We have no more time to waste.

UPDATE: The Washington Post now has a copy of the bill posted on its website.