Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

932 pages of excitement

Posted by Danny Morris on May 15, 2009

It’s official. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, brought to you by Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, is here, weighting in a whopping 932 pages. It should provide plenty of leisurely weekend reading. Fan of compromises will particularly enjoy the following highlights:

  • Emissions targets: 20 percent reduction below 2005 emssions levels by 2020, 44 percent reduction by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050.
  • 85% of emission allowances allocated for free, including 35% to the electricity industry, 15% to trade-sensitive industries, 9% to natural gas distributors, 2% to oil refineries, 5% to stop tropical deforestation, and 2% for adaptation.
  • Tons of goodies to charm moderate Democrats from the Rust Belt, South, and Mountain West.

My initial reaction is that there are probably going to be a lot of things in here that piss me off, but reading legislation is not my idea of a fun Friday night. Stay tuned for marginally worthwhile analysis…

6 Responses to “932 pages of excitement”

  1. Max Epstein said

    Danny, I’m a bit unclear how this bill purports to reduce emissions by 2020. According to the chart on page 407, the numbers of allowances created in every year from 2014-2022 are higher than the number of allowances created in year 2012 or 2013.

    Maybe they’re counting projected reductions in international deforestation outside the cap as part (all?) of their reductions? If so, then the entire program is essentially offsets, as if the two billion ceiling wasn’t enough. I called the E&C committee and got no answer, only a staffer that said he hadn’t written that part and would look into it.

    I know L-W actually authorized fewer allowances each year, and claimed similar 2020 targets.

  2. Max Epstein said

    My bad. A commenter at grist (ht “rheilmayr,” who I believe is from WRI) alerted me to the fact that industrial emissions aren’t covered under the cap until 2014 and natural gas emissions in 2016. That’s an explanation alright, can’t say its an encouraging one though. Waxman-Markey is certainly full of all sorts of lovely surprises.

    • Danny Morris said


      No worries. There’s all kinds of fun little secrets waiting for us to find in the bill. The section after the figure on 407 explains the proportion of emissions covered relate to 2005 emissions. By 2020, total emissions is equal to a 20% reduction of 2005 emissions, but it’s important to keep in mind that reduction is only for the 85% of US emissions covered by the bill.

  3. Evan Herrnstadt said

    When I first saw this post title, I thought it said “932 pages of excrement”. Not a good omen.

  4. Danny Morris said

    now, now, you have to read at least 150 pages before you can start calling it names. at least i think that’s what Sec. 264 is about.

  5. bloonsterific said

    Just wanted to tell you all know how much I appreciate your postings guys.
    Found you though google!

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