Photo via Daylife
Republicans have crafted their own climate bill to counter the Democrats' legislation, which is currently being hotly debated by congressmen. Though according to early reports, this 'climate bill', authored by Rep. Joe Barton, isn't quite the accurate term. Wonk Room describes it as follows: "While not quite ignoring the threat of climate change, Barton's bill does spit in the face of science." So what's the GOP's climate and energy plan for America?Here's a breakdown with some of the highlights, from the Wonk Room:
— Repealing the Supreme Court decision which said the US EPA could limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
— Preempting state authority to reduce climate-related emissions. This is a direct attack on California and other states that have sought to avert the threat of catastrophic global warming and create green jobs.
— Providing regulatory and financial rewards to coal-burning power plants that use "currently available technology." In other words, more dirty coal-fired plants that kill and sicken our children and grandparents.
— Providing new subsidies for hazardous nuclear power plants.
— Defines nuclear power and advanced coal technology as "renewable."
— Repealing "decoupling" mandates that reward utilities for reducing wasted energy.
— Promoting more oil drilling off the coasts and Luntzian "environmentally sensitive American energy exploration" in the Arctic wildlife refuge.
— Subsidizing climate-killer fuels produced from coal, oil shale, methane hydrates, and tar sands.
And since Wonk Room Guest blogger Frank O'Donnell from Clean Air Watch is already on such a roll, I'll just allow him to explain the projected effects of the bill:
n reality, it's hardly a viable alternative — only something that can be presented as one. This is basically a PR stunt aimed at conning the public to stay stuck in the same dirty energy rut that is destroying our economy and environment.
So in conclusion,
This proposal, combined with the incentives for new drilling, the reversal of fuel economy standards, and promotion of highly polluting alternative fuels, would guarantee that U.S. emissions would continue to increase without bound for the foreseeable future.
As O'Donnell states, this is more of a publicity stunt than an attempt to craft policy--it's a more formal protest than the mock hearings, and another way to attempt to bog down and delay the Democrats' bill. But it does to some extent outline the views of Republicans on the Energy and Commerce committee, and is useful, along with their public climate change talking points, in gauging the party's priorities when it comes to energy.