Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Energy and Freedom

Less than a month ago, it appeared that the D's were throwing renewables out of the energy bill. Now, according to this story, they are back in.

US House Seeks Tax Incentives For Renewable Energy

Democrats are still drafting the energy package, which also will include a boost in automobile fuel efficiency standards and requirements to use more renewable fuel sources like ethanol.

According to a letter sent to Democrats by House leadership Tuesday, the bill will include a controversial tax package that was included in a bill the House passed this summer. The bill still must be finalized before a vote, which is expected Wednesday or Thursday.

According to the letter, the bill "strengthens and extends existing renewable energy tax credits, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro, landfill gas and trash combustion, while creating new incentives for the use and production of renewable energy."

Several Republicans in the Senate oppose paying for those renewable tax credits by raising taxes on oil and gas companies, and the White House has threatened to veto the bill over the issue.

To pay for the renewable incentives, the House bill is expected to repeal about $21 billion in tax subsidies extended to big oil and gas producers like Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips and Chevron Corp.

According to the Democratic staff letter, the bill would repeal reduced tax rates for major integrated oil companies, drop foreign income tax deductions for companies that produce oil and natural gas overseas and drop a tax break for companies to write off some exploration expenses.
If the bill becomes law, it would provide a big boost to solar producers like SunPower and First Solar , whose customers would be able to claim a 30 percent investment tax credit for installing solar arrays.

Wind producers like Vestas of Denmark, the world's biggest maker of wind turbines, could also get a boost from a 1.8-cent-per-kilowatt-hour producer tax credit, also expected to be included in the bill.

According to Democrats, the bill would also provide "clean renewable energy bonds" to incentivize electric cooperatives and public power providers to install facilities that generate electricity from renewable resources. " (more)

On the other side of the earth, world leaders are meeting in Bali to actually really begin to deal with Climate Change. Here is part of the story:

Bali climate talks focus on Kyoto offsets
By Gerard Wynn

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Rich nations have less than a month to go before they must start meeting emissions caps under the Kyoto Protocol that aims to fight global warming.
Yet 16 of the 36 industrialized nations bound by Kyoto limits are over their targets set for 2008-2012 and may have to buy carbon offsets to meet these, drawing criticism at a U.N. meeting in Bali.
"There's this quite strong feeling (among poorer countries) that a number of commitments in those areas, commitments from the past, have not been met and will be conveniently forgotten when we switch to a new agenda item called the future," said Yvo de Boer, the U.N.'s head of climate change. clip

Although Kyoto came into force in 2005, its commitment period only begins from Jan 1, 2008 till 2012. (clip)

Emissions of six of the 15 older members of the EU rose in 2005, putting the EU-15 about 2 percent below 1990 levels versus a Kyoto target of 8 percent. (more) Note: Australia signed the treaty on Monday making the US the only nation in the world that has not signed it.

Meanwhile, hearings began on a cap and trade bill in the US Senate yesterday. But look at the comments in this story which were guided to the site from a right wing news service. It's enough to make the hair that the barber just cut off rise up and stand on end. The Rightees are clearly in their own battle of the bulge on the issue.

What the rightees need to do is quit taking their own cool aid, and instead think about how we fight climate change and still maintain our freedoms. Cap and trade will lead to carbon allotments. Carbon allotments will lead to injustices.

Only a strong move to a post carbon world will provide the energy we need with the freedom we expect, with the justice we must insure.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Senator Bernie Sanders on the radio this morning(CA time)the House had passed it and the Senate did not. They got only 3 Republicans. The wimp Harry Reid needs to tell them if they're going to fillibuster they need to talk till they're hoarse.

1:04 PM  

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