EDF Throws in the Towel on an Economy-Wide Cap

July 2, 2010 | Yael Borofsky,

Fred Krupp, the Environmental Defense Fund's iconic cap and trade champion, has finally conceded that cap and trade is dead:

"A comprehensive, economy-wide cap and trade system is not going to be passed by the Senate," Fred Krupp said...

Marc Gunther of the Energy Collective asked Krupp if he could support a bipartisan energy package like the one Breakthrough's Jesse Jenkins argued could constitute real progress for clean energy and would be a preferable alternative to failed cap and trade proposals:

No, they replied, because if the U.S. doesn't limit its CO2 emissions, it will be impossible to persuade other big countries like China to follow. Besides, an EDF analysis [PDF, for download] of the energy-only Bingaman-Murkowski bill that came out of a Senate committee and included some of those measures showed that it would actually permit emissions to increase over the next decade or so.

"What we absolutely will insist on is an enforceable, declining limit on carbon pollution coming from these big smokestacks," Fred said.

Ironically, Krupp dismisses Jenkins' argument on the grounds that energy-only proposals would allow emissions to rise, however, Breakthrough analysis shows that ACES -- the bill that passed the House last June which EDF has steadfastly supported -- would also allow emissions to rise for at least the next decade or two thanks to multiple cost containment mechanisms and reliance on fraudulent carbon offsets.

And ACES, as ineffective as it is likely to be, is certain to be stronger than the utility-sector only "cap" that has become EDF et al's "last best hope" for the year.

Time for a new play call?