Senate votes to kill cap-and-trade?

by Marlo Lewis on April 2, 2009

Well, not overtly, but the Senate voted 89-8 for an amendment to the Fiscal year 2010 budget resolution (S. Con Res. 13), introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), which would prohibit any future greenhouse gas cap-and-trade initiative from increasing gasoline prices and electricity rates for U.S. households and businesses.  

As University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr. points out, “The entire purpose of cap and trade is in fact to increase the costs of carbon-emitting sources of energy, which dominate US energy consumption. The Thune Amendment thus undercuts the entire purpose of cap and trade.” In other words, it is impossible to vote for the Thune amendment and support cap-and-trade and be consistent, candid, or straight with the American people.

Who voted for the Thune amendment? A whole bunch of cap-and-traders including Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and John Warner (D-VA).

Boxer tried to square the circle, proposing legislation, adopted 54-43, to compensate consumers for higher energy prices via tax rebates. But rebates after-the-fact are not the same as prohibiting measures that increase energy prices in the first place. Does anyone really believe that if carbon permit auctions under President Obama’s cap-and-trade initiative raise $646 billion or even $1.9 trillion for the Treasury, spendaholics in Congress will not use one dime of the boodle to fund pet projects, “green” jobs, or health-care “reform”?

Pielke, Jr. concludes on a cheery note:

The Thune Amendment effectively kills cap and trade as a mechanism for reducing emissions. I have little doubt that the legislation will go forward, and it likely will pass in some form and do many things. Its just that reducing emissions won’t be among them. Cap and trade is dead, but the charade will go on.

A consumation devoutly to be wished. On the other hand, it ain’t over ’till it’s over. We should not underestimate the capacity of politicians to insist on having their cake and eating it. Again, Boxer pretends to see no contradiction between voting for Thune and supporting Obama’s $646 billion to $1.9 trillion energy tax. The Thune amendment could also be jettisoned or vitiated by House-Senate conferees.

Nonetheless, the Thune amendment shows the path to victory. Cap-and-traders fear public retribution over high electricity and gasoline prices more than they fear the alleged horrors of global warming. Our task is obvious–keep calling cap-and-trade an energy tax, because that is what it is.

Susan Gore April 2, 2009 at 8:16 am

Thanks John Thune, let's hear it for South Dakota and Marlo Lewis's well-conveyed update. It's a relief to hear that at least of one Obama's destructive policies isn't likely to fly.

Bob R Geologist, Tuc April 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I would like to think that the over 32,000 US scientists who petitioned the US Senate last May to not commit our Gov't to abiding by the Kyoto Protocols has finally borne fruit. Our petition said that "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

Ken Maize April 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I think you meant Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). John Warner (R-Va.) is no longer a member of Congress, having declined to run in 2008.

Mary April 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I don't believe in global warming. It's just a trumped up idiotic idea that Al Gore, and some paid off, so called scientist are running with, and making millions in the mean time. The morons in our government are eating it up, and we the American people have to foot the bill again, and again, etc……. When are we going to wise up, and take our government back!!!

dan April 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

great article, really inspirational !

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