Brian Vastag and Jason Samenow,
Friday, May 10, 3:09 PM
Human influence on the Earth’s atmosphere touched what climate scientists called a dire milestone Friday as concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide nudged up to a level unseen in about 3 million to 5 million years — long before modern humans.
A monitoring station in Hawaii recorded carbon dioxide concentrations of 400 parts per million Friday, dramatically up from the 316 parts per million recorded when the station made its first measurements in 1958. The monitor, high atop the Mauna Loa volcano, offers the longest-running record of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured directly from the air.
Carbon dioxide is a primary greenhouse gas, efficient at trapping heat from the sun. The colorless gas is released from power plants and vehicles as they burn coal, oil and gas.
“[The] increase is not a surprise to scientists,” said Pieter Tans, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The evidence is conclusive that the strong growth of global [carbon dioxide] emissions from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving the acceleration.”
Climate scientist Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London said the particular figure reached Friday — 400 parts per million — holds no particular significance except as a milestone. “It gives us the chance to mark the ongoing increase in [carbon dioxide] concentration and talk about why it’s a problem for the climate.”
Scientists have firmly linked rising atmospheric carbon dioxide to higher global temperatures, which have increased nearly a degree Fahrenheit, on average, since 1950.
Larger temperature increases have occurred in the Arctic. In 2009, an international agreement sought to limit temperature increases to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by...
May 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm by Jennifer Hiller
The Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. has drilled 600 Eagle Ford wells so far. How good are they?
The company thinks it might ultimately recover an average of about 570,000 barrels of oil equivalent from each.
I’ll save you the calculator. That’s 342 million barrels of oil equivalent, a measure that includes both crude oil and natural gas liquids.
Legal issues: Chesapeake sues Cameron over fracking equipment
The company gave the estimate in its third-quarter call with analysts last week. Here are some other Eagle Ford highlights:
Chesapeake expects to sign agreements this quarter to sell its northern block of Eagle Ford acreage, around Zavala County.
The company expects to produce an additional 1 million barrels of oil this year. Jeffery Fisher, executive vice president, said, “This is largely attributable to outstanding results in the Eagle Ford, where we are drilling longer laterals, achieving better than expected well performance, and benefiting from increased gathering system and processing capacity.”
It’s Eagle Ford wells are costing around $7 million (but is aiming ultimately for a well cost of $6.5 million – that’s for a well with a 6,300-foot horizontal reach).
In the first quarter, Chesapeake’s Eagle Ford production averaged 61,600 barrels per day, up 44,100 barrels, or 251 percent, from the year before.
South Texas boom: Eagle Ford oil production hits record high
The company says by the end of the year it will produce around 71,000 barrels of liquids (crude oil and natural gas liquids like propane and butane) daily in the Eagle Ford.
By the second half of this year, about half of Chesapeake’s Eagle Ford wells will be drilled on multi-well pad sites. And in 2014, 75 percent will be drilled on multi-well pads. (That means fewer trucks on the roads for residents, and cheaper wells for the company...
Obama to tout health law's benefits for women
By Sam Baker - 05/09/13 08:00 PM ET
President Obama will make a public defense of his signature healthcare law Friday, using Mother's Day as a backdrop.
Obama will highlight popular pieces of the healthcare law, such as the provision allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance policies through age 26, a White House official said. He'll be flanked by "women and families" who have benefitted from the law.
"Mothers are the number one validator for the young and uninsured and will be critical in the effort to encourage their kids to enroll for insurance in the fall," the White House official said.
Obama's address comes at the early stages of a massive effort to promote the healthcare law and encourage people to enroll in its new coverage options, which will become available later this year.
Many Democrats are worried about the rollout, saying the White House has done too little to overcome deep misconceptions about the law. Without a massive public-relations campaign, they say, the implementation could turn into a "train wreck" that threatens Democratic prospects in 2014.
Obama hasn't talked about his healthcare law much since the campaign, when he highlighted specific benefits as part of a broader push to win over female voters. He will apparently emphasize many of the same policies — most of which are politically popular — at Friday's event.
The White House highlighted provisions of the health law that have expanded access to preventive services, including birth control, and allowed children to remain on their parents' plans.
Thu May 9, 2013 5:04pm EDT
* House, Senate panels plan to draft farm bill next week
* Split on food stamps widens from last year
* Food stamps make up largest part of farm bill spending
By Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Lawmakers are preparing for a second run at writing the new U.S. farm law that ended in a stalemate in 2012, and the biggest obstacle is not likely to be soil conservation or crop subsidies, but the billions spent mostly in cities and towns.
Analysts say food stamps for the poor, the biggest Agriculture Department program at an estimated $79 billion this year, is the make-or-break issue. Republicans are demanding far larger cuts than Democrats will entertain, and the debate is becoming increasingly partisan.
Enrollment in the program has doubled in a decade and costs have tripled. Critics say spending is out of control when only the neediest should get aid. Defenders say the weak economy is the culprit - enrollment is highest during economic turmoil - and that food stamps are targeted to avoid cuts in farm subsidies.
Food stamps "is the key to getting a final farm bill done. Not that there won't be plenty of other fights," said Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), a think tank at the University of Missouri.
"It seems like there is going to be some trimming and a battle between the House (of Representatives) and Senate over how much," said analyst Mark McMinimy of Guggenheim Securities. "I think a lot of heat is going to be around nutrition assistance."
The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to start drafting its bill on Tuesday, with its House panel likely to follow on Wednesday. "On food stamps, they're going to be 10 miles apart," said a farm lobbyist.
Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, is aiming for $4 billion in food stamp cuts over 10
McDermott shares fall after earnings miss
May 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm by Bloomberg
Shares of McDermott International, a Houston-based maker of pipelines for offshore oil fields, fell the most in more than two months after quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates and the company said it sees “near-term challenges.”
McDermott declined 13 percent to $9.59 at the close in New York, the biggest drop since March 1. The shares have decreased 3.1 percent in the past year.
First-quarter net income decreased 67 percent to $20.6 million, or 9 cents a share, from $62.8 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement issued Wednesday after the close of regular trading. Excluding one-time items, per-share profit fell below the 14-cent average of 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The profitability drop represented “another disappointing” quarter, Michael Marino, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in Houston, wrote in a note to investors Thursday. “This quarter the disappointment was in the Middle East where several projects experienced profitability adjustments.”
Operating margins, which were 7 percent in the first quarter, may be at break even levels or a loss for the second and third quarters after its largest project was completed in Australia and with continuing losses forecast for its Atlantic division, Chief Financial Officer Perry Elders said on an investor conference call Thursday.
The company has about $1.8 billion in backlog work that will “roll off” in 2014, Chief Executive Officer Stephen M. Johnson said on the call. “We still have work to do to book additional business for 2014.”
Tesla Motors Earns First Quarterly Profit Ever
May 9, 2013 by Nicholas Brown 1 Comment
Tesla Motors has been operating for about 10 years without turning a profit, out of the sheer determination from its founder Elon Musk. But finally, Tesla has earned its first quarterly profit ever, and going forward the outlook for Tesla looks bright.
Tesla managed to make a profit of $15 million on sales of $562 million in the first quarter of 2013, delivering an estimated 4,900 Model S units to customers. Tesla also earned $63 million by selling zero-emissions credits to automakers in California, and going forward the electric auto maker could earn as much as $250 million from selling environmental credits. Tesla is apparently on pace to meet their target of 20,000 vehicle sales in 2013, and it receives up to $35,000 of environmental credits for each Tesla Model S electric car it sells.
These ZEV credits can be sold to automakers in California, whether or not they sell zero emissions vehicles, to help these automakers meet California’s strict environmental laws. This helped offset the some $200 million in company investments Tesla is expected to make in the next year, opening new stores and installing supercharger stations. These investments will go down over time, leading to even higher profit margins.
This profit helped bolster Tesla Motors stock, which briefly jumped to over $70 before settling around $55. Tesla stock has been growing stronger, and the fact that the company has finally made a profit is sure to make investors happy.
Elon Musk has defied the odds, and made money with a pure electric car. There are even brighter days
Source: Tesla Motors via Autoblog Green
Amie Parnes - 05/09/13 04:01 PM ET
President Obama on Thursday declared that the nation is “poised for progress” but called on Congress to help strengthen the middle class by promoting economic polices he proposed in his State of the Union address in February.
In a 20-minute speech at a technology school outside of Austin, Texas, Obama — who has been focused on the gun control and immigration debates in recent days — promoted his idea of raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour, as well as increasing spending on education, worker training programs and manufacturing-innovation centers.
Those proposals have gained little traction in the GOP-held House, which is revving up for a new fight with Obama over the debt ceiling in the fall.
Given the difficulty in moving anything legislatively, Obama sidestepped Congress on Thursday by announcing two executive actions that he claimed will help strengthen the economy: launching competitions for three innovation centers and a separate order requiring government data be made freely available so that entrepreneurs can access “troves of previously inaccessible data.” The White House said the files can be used to generate new products and services to help build businesses and create jobs.
Obama’s trip on Thursday marks the second time he has traveled to the Lone Star state in two weeks. And it comes as lawmakers will begin to take up a comprehensive immigration bill that bears strong significance for the state. Roughly 38 percent of the border state's population is Hispanic.
The trip to Texas has broader significance for the Democratic Party, which would like to see what has been a red state turn blue. Obama visited Texas a couple of times on the campaign trail last year.
For the second day in a row, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday downplayed the notion that Obama’s appearance in Texas was part of a
Ryan Koronowski on May 9, 2013 at 11:53 am
PHOTO - Zero Republicans show up to vote on Gina McCarthy's nomination to be EPA Administrator.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was scheduled to vote today at 9:15 on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next EPA Administrator. Despite the fact that she has answered more than a thousand of the committee’s questions, Senate Republicans announced just before the hearing that they would be boycotting the vote, denying the committee quorum and postponing the confirmation hearing.
The committee rules require that at least two members of the minority party be present during a vote. Not a single Republican bothered to show up.
Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the committee, still held a meeting, allowing the Democrats in attendance to try to explain to the American people why they still have no EPA Administrator. The ostensible reason that the Republicans boycotted today’s vote was because they said she did not satisfactorily answer their questions. Senator Boxer reminded those present that Gina McCarthy has already answered more than a thousand questions from the committee and moreover is eminently qualified with an excellent track record of working with the business community and and both parties to do her job. Boxer later floated the idea of changing the rules of the committee so that a boycott such as this would not gum up the works. She urged her GOP colleagues to listen to the many “mainstream” Republicans who support Gina McCarthy’s nomination and “get out of the fringe lane.” If senators oppose a nominee, they should show up and vote against the nominee, not hold the process hostage for ideological reasons.
In 2009, the Senate easily confirmed the highly qualified McCarthy by a voice vote to head the Clean Air division of the EPA. With nearly three decades of experience
May 9, 2013 12:36 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
The Energy Department is sifting through some 200,000 public comments as it prepares to issue verdicts on energy companies’ applications to broadly export natural gas, a top Obama administration official said Thursday.
“We are moving through the process as expeditiously as possible,” said Christopher Smith, the acting assistant secretary for fossil energy. “We want to make sure that the decision that we make is consistent with our interest in making a good policy decision and our goal is to get to that that process as quickly as reasonable and still make sure we’re open and transparent with all the stakeholders we have to deal with.”
More than a dozen companies have asked the Energy Department for licenses to export natural gas to Japan and other countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the United States. Although Houston-based Cheniere Energy won export approval last year, the Energy Department has put other applications on hold while it considers the economic effects of the decisions.
Onshore: U.S.-Mexico collaboration seen necessary on Eagle Ford drilling
The crush of comments came on a study completed last year for the Energy Department that concluded even if the government doesn’t limit natural gas exports, there will be a net economic benefit for the United States. Some manufacturers, led by Dow Chemical Co., dispute that conclusion, saying unfettered exports could boost the price of natural gas and chip away at the competitive advantage for U.S. companies that rely on the fossil fuel.
Smith stressed the Energy Department’s deliberative approach to analyzing public comments and a number of factors as it weighs export license applications.
“We’re looking at balance to trade, we’re looking at job creation, we’re looking at energy security, we’re looking at environmental issues, we’re looking at
May 9, 2013 Tina Casey
The U.S. Army has just launched the first in a series of renewable energy contracts that will eventually total $7 billion by the end of this year, using power purchase agreements along with a standard procurement tool that is expected to crush any obstacles that are put in its path. That includes the notorious budget sequester as well as any objections from the anti-renewable energy crowd in Congress, which has already used the budget as an excuse to sink the Navy’s biofuel initiatives. So, let’s see what kind of firepower the Army has on its side.
The Army Renewable Energy Initiative
The Navy biofuel program really has attracted a lot of negativity from certain legislators over the past couple of years, but as far as renewable energy goes, the Navy has a fairly modest outlook compared to the Army’s Net Zero Vision.
Army Net Zero is just what it says – a net zero plan for energy, water and waste at Army facilities – but it goes far beyond that to embrace environmental stewardship and community health as essential elements of national defense.
That holistic perspective is reinforced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Take a look at the USACE Earth Day statement from a couple of years ago:
“For those of us who are part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it’s one more day in our journey toward ensuring that our actions are sustainable and that we are the very best stewards we can be of this country, of this planet…We are the nation’s environmental engineer. No other federal agency is addressing environmental issues of the same scope and magnitude as we are…”
Keeping that in mind, in 2011 the Army established the Energy Initiatives Task Force to streamline the process for getting utility-scale renewable energy in the pipeline for construction on its bases, the idea being that hyper-local energy sourcing is
...MidAmerican hasn’t selected its turbine manufacturers yet, he noted its turbine fleet is predominantly Siemens and GE. Siemens blades are made in Fort Madison and towers for both Siemens and GE are built in Newton...
May 8, 2013 12:34 PM
Des Moines Register
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad announced Wednesday that MidAmerican Energy Co. will invest $1.9 billion in wind energy generation in Iowa by 2015.
Branstad described it as the biggest capital investment in the state’s history.
MidAmerican Energy Announces $1.9 Billion Investment in Additional Wind Generation Capacity Plans to Build Up to 1,050 Megawatts Before Year-End 2015
(DES MOINES) – MidAmerican Energy Company is announcing its plans to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation, consisting of up to 656 new wind turbines, in Iowa by year-end 2015. The wind expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling $3.2 million per year also are expected as a result of the expansion. In addition, the expansion is planned to be built at no net cost to the company’s customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term by providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.
Gov. Terry Branstad, a champion for wind energy in Iowa, commented on the proposal. “As a leader in wind generation, the state of Iowa welcomes the opportunity to expand our renewable energy portfolio. MidAmerican Energy’s proposed project will be the largest economic development investment in the history of the state, bringing needed jobs to Iowa, as well as significant economic benefits.”
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds reiterated that message. “MidAmerican Energy has been a long-standing partner with the state of Iowa, and we look forward to working with them on this wind proposal. In addition to helping boost our state and local economies, the expansion would create approximately 460 construction
Buffett’s MidAmerican Plans $1.9 Billion of Wind Farms in Iowa
Andrew Herndon - May 8, 2013 4:54 PM MT
A unit of Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. plans to invest $1.9 billion to build additional wind farms in Iowa that would increase its wind generating capacity in the state by about half.
MidAmerican Energy Co., Iowa’s largest utility, plans to build as much as 1,050 megawatts of new wind power plants in the state, adding to about 2,285 megawatts of projects that it already owns and operates, the Des Moines, Iowa-based company said today in a statement on its website.
MidAmerican is the largest U.S. owner of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities, according to the statement. Iowa ranks third in the U.S. for states with the most wind generating capacity, behind Texas and California, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
The projects may include as many as 656 new wind turbines and be completed by the end of 2015, and the proposal requires approval from the Iowa Utilities Board, according to the statement.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. is a subsidiary of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A)
May 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm by Bloomberg
Discoverer Seven Seas, a Transocean rig.
Transocean, the world’s largest offshore rig contractor, said first-quarter profit rose as demand increased for drilling vessels in shallow and deep waters.
Net income climbed to $321 million, or 88 cents a share, from $10 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean said Wednesday.
The company, which has major offices in Houston, was expected to earn $1 a share, the average of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Expectations were for higher revenue and lower depreciation costs, James West, an analyst at Barclays’s investment- banking unit in New York, said before the earnings were released.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who holds a 5.61 percent stake in Transocean, called on the company in January to issue a $4-a-share dividend and is seeking to replace three board members including Chairman Michael Talbert. Transocean, which had about $5.1 billion in cash and near-cash items at the end of 2012, has proposed a $2.24-per-share dividend after not issuing one last year as it sought to maintain an investment grade credit rating and a “strong, flexible balance sheet” while reducing the value of its businesses.
“It sold their jackup fleet, and some of the depreciation went with the jackups,” said West, who rates the shares a buy and owns none. “On the revenue side, that’s just deepwater rigs and jackups rolling over to higher dayrates.”
The number of rigs operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico climbed 19 percent to an average of 50 during the first quarter from 42 a year earlier, according to Baker Hughes.
Transocean owned the $365 million Deepwater Horizon rig that was destroyed in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company employed nine of the 11 workers who died in the April 2010 disaster.
The earnings statement was released after the close of
May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered a blunt message to some of the nation’s top oil industry executives during an inaugural meeting with the group on Wednesday: Don’t cast blame our way.
“I did poke them a little bit about not throwing the regulators under the bus or blaming us when there is actually shared responsibility, perhaps, when something doesn’t move forward,” Jewell said after meeting with the business leaders on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference. “We don’t want to be in the way of development, but we have a job to do protecting the assets of the American people.”
The closed-door gathering included top representatives from oil companies Anadarko, BP and Marathon Oil, as well as contractors FMC Technologies, Halliburton, Transocean and Schlumberger, and the trade groups American Petroleum Institute and National Ocean Industries Association.
Some oil industry leaders have loudly complained about the pace of regulatory changes coming from the nation’s capital and pleaded for a more stable, predictable landscape. And ConocoPhillips cited regulatory uncertainties last month when the company announced it would delay its plans to drill in Arctic waters north of Alaska.
Related story: Offshore operators seek clarity on regulations
But on Wednesday, Jewell said she sensed the executives understood that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have worked “to be responsive to the needs of industry” even as they craft new rules, some borne from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“I did not sense …a reluctance to embrace regulation,” Jewell said. “What they want and what we are committed to provide is regulatory certainty, predictability (and) consistency, recognizing that different circumstances warrant different ways of behaving.”
Evan R. Gaddis - 05/08/13 05:11 PM ET
As much energy as the United States consumes, it’s nothing compared to how much energy we allow to go to waste.
Amazingly, almost two-thirds of energy produced is going to waste, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2011, EIA estimated that the equivalent of 39 quadrillion British Thermal Units (“quads”) of electricity was generated from a variety of sources: natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, and renewables. Of the 39 quads, only about one-third was actually used for residential, commercial and industrial uses; the other two-thirds of electricity was wasted -- lost due to inefficiencies and waste in transmission lines, the electrical distribution grid, and end-use of electricity in homes and businesses. Until now, most of our national energy conversation has focused on energy generation issues, but it is clearer than ever that energy efficiency must be a cornerstone in the foundation of our national energy policy. Greater energy efficiency will boost economic productivity and competitiveness and enhance U.S. energy security while reducing emissions.
We have the technologies to vastly improve energy efficiency today. Buildings consume 70 percent of the electricity in the U.S. annually. Recent advances in building equipment, lighting, sensors, controls, and integrated systems now make it possible to achieve a significant reduction in a building’s energy use, transforming older inefficient buildings into high performance building (HPBs).
The industrial sector consumes about 23 percent of the nation’s electrical energy. When high-efficiency drives and NEMA Premium motors are combined with sensors, intelligent process controls and monitoring systems, it is estimated that 15-30 percent energy savings are achievable. These savings go directly to a
May 8, 2013 Silvio Marcacci
Offshore wind power may yet not match the overall strength of onshore wind, but the industry is on course grow rapidly to become an €130 billion global market by 2020.
Global offshore wind market image via Roland Berger
A new report from industry consultants Roland Berger, “Offshore Wind Toward 2020,” concludes a combination of industry trends will soon make offshore wind cost competitive with other generation sources in many markets.
Europe is expected to continue dominating the global offshore wind industry, but the Asia Pacific and North American regions will soon represent significant market shares as technological innovation reduce many bottlenecks that have stymied project development to date.
Europe Continues To Dominate Global Markets
New turbines are expected to sprout from seas across the globe, but Europe will lead the charge, buoyed by ambitious national policy goals in multiple countries. The European Union has set 2020 targets of 35% electricity from renewables, with a 12% carve out for wind and 40 gigawatts (GW) installed offshore capacity.
So far, those targets have helped build 5GW offshore wind capacity, with new installations exceeding more than one offshore turbine per business day in 2012, equivalent to 10% of Europe’s annual wind energy installations. In many cases, actual generation from wind farms has exceeded expectations.
But current offshore output will be swamped by future additions – by 2020 reaching 4.5GW of new annual offshore wind capacity additions, worth more than €14 billion per year. Those estimates would more than triple annual capacity additions and double total investments for 2013, currently at 1.8GW and €7 billion respectively.
Growing Asia-Pacific, North American Markets
Just like a rising tide, the offshore wind market’s growth will raise boats outside of European waters...
Published: May 7
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, announced last month that he wants to spend the rest of his final term in office reforming the tax code, and there are signs that Republicans want an overhaul this year, too. Good. The tax code is an unruly, inefficient monstrosity that only tax attorneys could like. Congress has used it as a vehicle for interest-group giveaways and other forms of wasteful, underhanded policymaking that unwisely distort the economy. We hope that, without the pressure of campaigning for reelection, Mr. Baucus will push his colleagues to make some tough choices.
But what does good tax reform look like? The Finance Committee staff has labored over the past few months to produce a series of thoughtful reports on the options. The assiduously neutral write-ups give space to some very bad ideas, but also some of the best — even if they are politically heretical.
No honest tax reform paper, for example, would be complete without discussion of a carbon tax, an elegant policy Congress could immediately take off the shelf. It would make polluters pay for their own pollution, which is the best way to encourage greener thinking. It would cut emissions without overspending national wealth on grandiose central planning or command-and-control regulation. And it would raise revenue, which lawmakers could use for debt reduction, lowering other taxes, improving the social safety net or some combination. The carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.
Those still worried about the economic effects need only consider how it could fit into a bigger tax-reform package such as the one Mr. Baucus wants to produce. Surely, Republicans should want to replace economy-sapping taxes on labor or business in return for a much more ef
Sen. Baucus pushed to back carbon tax
Ben Geman - 05/08/13 11:20 AM ET
The Washington Post’s editorial board is urging retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to back carbon taxes in the wider tax code overhaul that the powerful Finance Committee chairman wants to achieve.
The Post’s new editorial calls a carbon tax “an elegant policy Congress could immediately take off the shelf.”
It’s not the first time the paper has backed the idea. But ThePost’s latest push could buoy a loose collection of policy wonks and climate activists seeking any traction in their steep uphill climb in favor of carbon taxes.
E2-Wire looked at the against-the-odds push in detail here.
The Post, for its part, both makes the case for a tax and notes the long odds, calling it “one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.”
From The Post:
It would make polluters pay for their own pollution, which is the best way to encourage greener thinking. It would cut emissions without overspending national wealth on grandiose central planning or command-and-control regulation. And it would raise revenue, which lawmakers could use for debt reduction, lowering other taxes, improving the social safety net or some combination.
The paper urges lawmakers to read the recent, wide-ranging energy tax policy paper that the Finance Committee staff recently released.
The Finance Committee discussion paper describes carbon tax proposals among a slew of other policy ideas, but doesn’t endorse anything.