Is ACES a ‘Clean Energy’ Bill or a ‘Coal Energy’ Bill?

Share this article

The House Energy and Commerce Committee looks poised to vote on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act later today.

As this bill has developed, going from an already compromised draft through massive compromising to secure enough committee votes, it has reached the point where one has to wonder whether it is more appropriately called the "Assuring Coal Energy Subsidies Act."

This bill has moved away from core climate legislation principles. Rather than auctioning off all pollution permits, as candidate Obama promised and President Obama put into the submitted budget, some 85% of those permits will be given away.

Taking a look at a preliminary analysis, the allowances can be broken into these major categories:

* 25% directly to fossil-fuel companies and energy-intensive industries. (13% for energy-intensive trade-exposed industries, 5% for the fantasy of clean-coal, 5% for coal-plant operators, and 2% for oil refineries). This is direct subsidy for the continued use of polluting energy.

* 52% indirect subsidies to the burning of fossil fuels through: buffering commercial and residential customers from any cost increases due to carbon pricing (30%), providing funds to natural gas companies (6%), low-income rebates due to rising energy costs (15%), home-heating oil rebates (1%).

* 13% to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including clean tech R&D (1.5%), deployment (5.5%), electric vehicles (1%), state and local energy efficiency (4%), and subsidizing international clean energy (1%)

* Other, including reducing tropical deforestation (5%), international adaptation (1%), deficit reduction (2%), green jobs and transition training/assistance (.5%), domestic adaptation (2%)

Let us summarize, this is 7% for subsidizing directly and indirectly the burning of polluting fossil fuels and 13% for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

According to an analysis by Point Carbon, the first category is valued at $314 billion for 2012-2030, the second at $747 billion, the third at $127.4 billion. Thus, their fiscal estimate is $1.06 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels against $127.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Can anyone logically explain how this continues to merit “Clean Energy” in the title?


(Originally published at Get Energy Smart! Now!!!)