Romm: Climate Bill Set to Over-Allocate Pollution Permits

September 28, 2009 | Jesse Jenkins,

For readers of Climate Progress looking for some help sorting through Joe Romm's latest vituperation, here's a cliff-notes version: he agrees with our conclusions showing that climate legislation passed by the House in June would over-allocate emissions permits in the early years of the program, resulting in a collapse of carbon prices to the bill's $10 floor and the banking of excess permits that will undermine the stringency of the emissions cap in future years. He warns readers about precisely the same likely outcomes here.

Breakthrough conducted analysis of the implications of the economic recession and lower-than-expected emissions levels, concluding that the House climate bill would not require regulated firms to reduce emissions at all, either through offsets or actual reductions in their own emissions, until as late as 2018 under likely economic recovery scenarios. With offsets utilized at just 6 to 25 percent of the maximum levels permitted, the bill's cap and trade program would not require any actual reductions in emissions from regulated firms until 2020 or later.

Romm doesn't like these conclusions because it challenges his contention that Waxman-Markey is a strong bill. So, unable to actually challenge our analysis, Romm calls our analysis "crap" -- and then says we "glommed" it from him. He then quotes at length from an egregiously unbalanced E&E article about our analysis.

So, long story short: Breakthrough's analysis stands, as do the 19 prior analyses we have conducted of House climate legislation.


This is a measured response given how CP has slammed BTI this year. Well done.

BTW, Romm's inside-the-beltway perspective is that ACES is all that DC can muster, no ratification of a climate treaty is possible, and, without ACES, the chance of avoiding klimakatastrophe is zero (and only a little better with it). This is not the same as saying ACES is a strong bill, just as good as it gets.

I think you all would find common ground with the following haiku assessment of ACES:

Jacks or Better


By Greg Robie on 2009 09 29