Coal-Subsidy Act

The Lieberman-Warner “Climate Security Act” (CSA) was passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday.  We (and I, strongly) have been told to shut up and celebrate. A Global Warming Bill is going to be debated on the Senate floor and, in any event, any faults don’t matter since Mr 26% will veto any climate change legislation. Thus, be quiet, be real politically, and shout our/my support for the act.

Well, the Lieberman-Warner Climate InSecurity Act (CISA) has quite serious flaws in it. And, among the most critical of those flaws is that CSA seems to most appropriately stand for Coal Subsidy Act.

Now, I’ve raised the question of What would it take to make CISA a CSA, referring to “Climate Security Act”.  But, let’s take a moment to figure out why this is a Coal Subsidy Act rather than truly a path toward creating a clean energy future to provide Climate Security for Americans.

For example, Pew Climate’s examination of Carbon Capture and Sequestration has provided a number of templates for a test and evaluation program for CCS that range from $8-10 billion (10 plants) to a $30 billion program (30 plants).  Yet, L-W sets aside over three percent of total permits for “large scale CCS demonstraton Projects” with an estimated value of $152,822,136,018.  That is, a cost over five times the robust Pew Climate program.  Hmmm …

The bill includes 1.67% of total permits as giveaways to “states with fossil fuel industry” ($67 billion), 2.50% “bonus for CCS” ($65 billion), 8.54% of permits for “transition assistance” for “fossil fuel-fired power generation” ($200 billion) and 0.63% for “Rural Electric Cooperatives” ($16 billion).  There is 0.97% of permits for “facilities that produce or import petroleum based fuels” or a value of $22.7 billion.

Now, as to the “transition assistance”, what is the Congressional Budget Office‘s concern, that they

could yield windfall profits for the producers that received them by effectively transferring income from consumers to firms’ owners and shareholders

Well … and so on … and so on … and so on.

The Friends of the Earth analysis puts the total value at about $4 trillion, with over 17% (about $700 billion) being dedicated to fossil fuel.  13% of the total auction revenues will be dedicated to direct subsidies to carbon sequestration, a technology that is far from proved at this time. 

With these sort of numbers, with this sort of money to prop up the most carbon intensive energy source out there, perhaps Lieberman-Warner would properly be titled the Coal Subsidy Act.

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7 responses to “Coal-Subsidy Act

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on ASCA’s compromises « Energy Smart

  2. I’m curious. How does this compare to the dollar amount of current coal industry subsidies? Is this more money on top of other subsidies and tax brakes or is this a replacement of subsidies that were in the budgets of previous years? Any idea?

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