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Developments in Federal
Climate Change Policy
Jay Hakes
Georgia Climate Change Conference
May 6, 2008
Federal Climate and
Energy Policies Overlap

Four fifths of greenhouse gases come
from combustion of fossil fuels

In addition, methane emissions come from
flaring of natural gas & leaks in gas
pipelines

Energy is a big deal
Energy Policies 1973-1981
Helped Cut Emissions
 Major
energy legislation passed in 1975, 1978
& 1980
 Decontrol of oil prices completed in 1981
 Intended to reduce oil imports, but for a
while also reduced carbon emissions
 This largely overlooked relationship analyzed
in my new book available in July
Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007

First major energy/climate initiative since
1981

Combined goals of reducing oil imports &
carbon emissions

Passed overwhelming with bipartisan
support (only 8 votes against in the Senate)
What Does EISA Do?

Raises vehicle mileage efficiency from
current 25 mpg to 35 by 2020

Increases requirements for ethanol
(including cellulosic) to robust levels

Requires greater lighting & appliance
efficiency
EISA Impacts

Will be lagged, because of imbedded
capital stock

According to the Energy Information
Administration, sharply cuts projected
growth in carbon emissions

But they still continue to rise
Next Steps?

Renewable portfolio standard?

Comprehensive cap & trade emissions a la
Warner-Lieberman bill?

Cap & trade on electric industry a la
Carper-Feinstein?

Default to carbon taxes?
Big Issues

How tough?

How comprehensive?

Grandfathering vs. auctions?

Spending vs. offsetting tax cuts?
Warner-Lieberman Bill

Main legislative vehicle

Very complex, with many compromises

Comprehensive – covers 87 percent of
greenhouse gases
Warner-Lieberman

Tough – allowed levels in 2030 are 39 to 72
percent below levels in 2006

More will need to be done

Bipartisan support – four Republican sponsors
(Warner, Coleman, Collins, and Dole), three
Democratic (Harkin, Cardin & Klobuchar) and
one independent (Lieberman)
Predictions for 2008

Big Senate debate on Warner-Lieberman
this summer?

No action this year?

A more serious debate in 2009?
Hurdles


Modest goals provide rhetoric not results
Lobbyists take advantage of complexities

Fear of hurting the economy

But EIA sees limited impacts on GDP
Hurdles

Fear of …
CHINA!
Reasons for Hope

We did it once before

2007 Act may mark major turning point

Young people have big stake in issue

Presidential candidates left have more
advanced positions than any previous prez