By Norris McDonald
How did we get here? To the point where a Cap & Trade Program is reduced to some sort of alien tax monster and job killer instead of the innovative mechanism it has always been. Congress would not pass a greenhouse gas (GHG) law and EPA is running from Cap & Trade too. The Republicans loved Cap & Trade until two years ago. Remember the Clear Skies Initiative? I supported it. The Democrats opposed it. Now the script has flipped but I remain committed to Cap & Trade. Thus, the source of my depression.
The Obama administration, Congress and EPA now all run from Cap & Trade. Yet it is the appropriate market mechanism to reduce GHG emissions. We delayed aggressive implementation of our GHG initiatives (CMX, GCB, CDR & EARP) because we were hoping for a federally mandated national program that would complement the international initiatives. Now we do not know exactly what to do. We have been registered in EPA's Acid Rain and NOx allowance trading programs for years. We are also registered in the Northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). If California can ever get its program operating, we will register in that program too. We really did not anticipate participating in multiple regional and federal programs. We are a small but powerful organization.
The buzz is completely gone from the Kyoto Protocol and the accompanying meetings to enhance and renew the program. President Obama did not even go to Cancun. And where is the buzz about Durban later this year? Crickets. This when the world was abuzz and Al Gore was ascending on climate change mitigation fever just three years ago.
Now the climate change mitigation ball is in EPA's court. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was raked over the coals today by the Republicans in the energy subcommittee hearing. And this was over about the most watered down climate change mitigation regs the agency could come up with.