Thursday, March 26, 2009

We Need Federal Legislation and Public Agitation to Save the Planet

We Need Federal Legislation and Public Agitation to Save the Planet
by Jim McDermott
March 25, 2009

Let me give you some idea of the challenges we have to overcome to have any hope of reversing the effects of climate change before it is too late. A few weeks ago the House Ways and Means Committee, of which I am a Member, held a hearing on climate change. One prominent witness called by the other party to testify said he didn't think climate change was real.

He said it with a straight face and using deep tones meant to convey that he was the expert and we were rank amateurs. In other words, he believes the rest of us are just making a big fuss over nothing at all. When he was finished, I was incredulous - but worried that his denial might be appealing to a lot of people who would prefer to keep living in the dark until the lights literally go out.

I believe we not only have to act urgently, as if the future of the planet depended upon it (because it does), but also I believe we need to address one of the fundamental issues around the crisis – providing a stable market that will both allow producers of greenhouse gas emissions to finance their transformation to clean energy, and encourage separate investments directly in new clean and renewable energy. That's why I introduced The Clean Environment and Stable Energy Market Act of 2009 yesterday in the House of Representatives. You can read the bill online at; here, let me take a moment to make a couple of key points.

I want to see a solution to climate change that doesn't create a problem as a by-product. The Enron debacle and the sub-prime crisis are lessons of very recent history of what can happen if a financial derivatives market is created around reducing carbon emissions. Instead, I want to reduce carbon emissions over time through the use of permits sold at a predictable price that is set by the Secretary of the Treasury.
Price predictability is key to enabling producers of products and resources that emit greenhouse gas emissions to reduce their carbon footprint. The reason is simple- the enormous financing that it will take to transform America into a clean and renewable economy will need a stable financial market in order to thrive and sustain this transformation.

Yes, my legislation mandates reductions in carbon emissions; in fact, there is a schedule in the legislation that cuts carbon emissions 80% by the middle of the century. And the bill includes a Climate Protection and Economic Security Trust Fund where revenue raised from the sale of permits would be deposited. I envision this money being used to help nurture and sustain the transformation of America into a green economy while protecting vulnerable families and communities along the way.

Of course, none of this matters much if you support the view that climate change is much ado about nothing. If you think otherwise, and I hope you do, make your voices heard loud and clear, because the stakes could not be higher.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails