Dy’er Sez: So…Congress has done it again – screwed the American people in the interest of monetary gain, that is. And the TV news was just a tad busy talking about Michael Jackson to worry about reporting one of the most sweeping acts in Congressional history.
Friday night they passed the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”, an almost 1500 page bill which was, for the most part, unread by the members of Congress by the time it came to a vote. Much like the Patriot Act, the bill was rushed into Congress for a vote, with over 300 pages added last minute so as to discourage a thorough review and debate on its faults and merits. That alone should set off warning bells in everyone’s heads.
The act is a sprawling mess, and I have only scratched the surface of it so far (which is more than I can say for our representatives). But what I have read give me more than enough pause for thought and makes me wonder if those who voted in favor actually have the best interests of the country in mind…or if lining their pockets and partisanship power are their paramount concerns.
The part of the Act that simply floors me is the whole idea of a “Cap and Trade” system. Everyone (businesses and eventually individuals) are going to be allotted a certain amount of ‘carbon allowances’ which will determine the amount of a ‘carbon footprint’ one is allowed to have. If you go over that amount then you will have to purchase more of these allowance (or “carbon credits”) from an institution that trades these credits.
On the surface, this sounds like it could be reasonable. But, in effect, all that is being done is the creation a new mechanism for wealthy investors to make even more money ( a pseudo-stock market, if you will). Instead of trading stocks and bonds, now there will be trading in carbon credits. All of this trade-floor money is going to go into the pockets of investors and in no way will help the environment.
And instead of big business spending money on ways to pollute less, they are given opportunity to simply purchase allowances in order to continue their normal operations, much in the way that government imposed fines and fees have been dealt with by said businesses (which will allow smaller business, who cannot afford these credits, to be eventually digested by larger companies and thus taking competition out of a business strategy).
One can certainly argue that the whole package is a positive and that the trading of carbon credits is simply a means to an end (and one would loose that argument buy the fact that no one read the act before passage…and very few have attempted it afterwards. I’m working my way through it….are you?). But why not make it simple, effective and enforceable (and not selectively enforceable, like so many other laws and acts passed in the interest of lining pockets)? How about this, for example: the “Three Strikes Act” – Any big business that pollutes the environment too much (an number to be determined by scientific consensus) get a warning to clean up their act by a certain percentage a year over, say, ten years. Every year their progress is monitored, and they have three chances to fail. If they get three strikes during the ten year term all of their US government contracts are canceled and they are not allowed to bid for another three years. An addendum to this act would be to not levy any government fines during this ten years (after all, it’s not about generating revenue for the government; it’s about protecting the environment, right?)
How much would you like to wager that the amount of environmental pollutants would drop CONSIDERABILITY in that ten year time? And, without the need to generate wealth and complicated (non-transparent) schemes.
And I would like to drive home a point one more time: this bill was pushed through and voted on before anyone had a chance to read it BY DESIGN. To my Republican Friends: Bush did the same thing with the Patriot Act (among others) and you said nothing – which makes him just as bad (and NOT because Limbaugh and Hannity said so…use your OWN heads). To My Democrat Friends: You jumped up and down when Bush did this, and now you say nothing – but it obvious for this (among other reasons) that the current Administration and Congress are just as shady as the last. To both (as well as my independent friends ): anyone who tried to get this bill (or any other bill) passed without review should be voted out of office ASAP, no exceptions.
Let’s get our country back…it’s been in the wrong hands for far too long.
- Carbon trade or carbon con? (wwwp.dailyclimate.org)
- Crackdown on carbon credit scam (telegraph.co.uk)