WaPo Fails To Say What Boxer-Kerry Bill Does
The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin published a story September 30th on Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) “climate bill” which Eilperin reports:
aims to make deep cuts in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions in the near and long term while setting a limit on the cost of carbon allowances, according to several sources and a close-to-final version of the bill obtained by The Washington Post.
The bill, which is still being revised, would make it easier for businesses to compensate for their carbon pollution by expanding the available pool of domestic offsets by 40 percent compared with the House-passed climate bill authored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).
It calls for cutting the nation’s emissions 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 — deeper reductions than in the House bill. It is also deficit-neutral and would make carbon offsets more affordable.
So Eilperin has informed us that this “climate bill” will: 1) reduce greenhouse-gas emissions; 2) set a roof on the costs of the new energy tax; 3) makes it easier for businesses to not reduce greenhouse-gasses by expanding the pool of offsets; and 4) is deficit-neutral.
These are all nice facts, but shouldn’t the Washington Post tell its readers what this “climate bill” will actually do for the climate? If the purpose of the bill is to stop climate change, then shouldn’t Eilperin inform her readers whether or not this bill will accomplish that?
As Eilperin mentions, the bill is still being revised, but we do know that bills reduction targets (83% by 2050) are almost identical to Waxman-Markey’s (80% by 2050). The only difference is that the Boxer-Kennedy bill makes it easier to cheat on these emission reductions by buying carbon “offsets.” But we already know how Waxman-Markey would affect climate change: It wouldn’t.
Climatologist Chip Knappenberger crunched the numbers and found:
A full implementation and adherence to the long-run emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years—a scientifically meaningless prospect.
By the year 2050, the “clean” version reduces projected global temperatures by 0.044ºC (or ~3% less than the rise without the legislation), the “dirty” version gets you about half of that, or 0.022ºC (~1.5% less), and the “dirtier” version saves half of that again, or 0.011ºC (<1% less). By century’s end, you don’t do much better–the temperature reduction amounts to, respectively, 0.112ºC (0.20ºF), 0.046ºC (0.08ºF), and 0.013ºC (0.02ºF).