Bipartisan energy-policy panel calls for CO2 caps
- Dec. 7, 2004
Energy experts suggest new guides
Unofficial panel takes on mileage, greenhouse gases
By DAVID IVANOVICH
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Hoping to break the national impasse over energy, a
panel of experts today will call for limits on greenhouse gas
emissions, tougher car mileage rules and a financial safety net for
companies building a gas pipeline from Alaska.
With the energy bill all but dead and lawmakers bracing for another
bitter, highly partisan battle in the next session of Congress, a
group calling itself the National Commission on Energy Policy will
unveil its prescription for improving the nation's energy security
while reducing the threat of climate change.
"What we believe we have crafted here is a fully integrated set of
supply and demand recommendations," said William Reilly, a former
head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and co-chair of the
panel of environmentalists, energy industry executives, academics and
former government staffers.
In a report titled "Ending the Energy Stalemate: A Bipartisan
Strategy to Meet America's Energy Challenges," the group called for a
mandatory program to reduce releases of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming.
Perhaps its most controversial recommendation the group already has
heard disapproval from the White House would limit the amount of
greenhouse gases a particular site would be permitted to emit.
Any operation that exceeded its limits would be able to buy emission
credits from another operation. But if a facility could not find
enough credits to buy, it would have to ratchet back those emissions
or pay the federal government $7 for every metric ton over its limit.
The Bush administration favors voluntary programs to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. It has opposed the Kyoto Accord, which sets
ceilings by country on carbon dioxide output. The administration says
the pact is unfair because it would set strict limits on emissions
from the United States and other industrialized nations that don't
apply to countries like China and India.
In response to concerns that developing nations will not follow the
U.S. lead, the panel would halt the greenhouse gas emissions rules by
2015 if major trading partners failed to implement similar programs.
Among the panel's members were former ConocoPhillips Chairman Archie
Dunham and Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.
Dunham said he was a reluctant at first "because I felt it was
dominated by people who historically have been unfriendly to the
Dunham eventually agreed to participate and is pleased with the
Ellis could not be reached Tuesday for an interview. In a prepared
statement, he noted, "These recommendations strike a careful balance
between increasing energy supply and environmental protection."
The panel also called for stiffer fuel efficiency requirements for
cars and trucks.
The group also proposed helping energy companies build a $20 billion
pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the lower 48 states.
The panel did not touch proposals to drill in Alaska's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.
The commission is not an official government panel.
The two-year study was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and
the Energy Foundation.
>WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME UP FOR A CO2 CAP?
>Bipartisan energy-policy panel calls for CO2 caps
>The notion of imposing mandatory restrictions on greenhouse-gas
>emissions in the U.S. continues to gather steam among those with no
>power to impose them. A privately funded panel of energy experts --
>including Republicans, Democrats, academics, environmentalists, and
>energy-industry representatives -- wrapped up two years of study
>today with the release of its official recommendations, including a
>call for carbon-dioxide caps and an emissions-credit trading system.
>In what panel co-chair (and ex-EPA chief) William K. Reilly called
>"a balanced set of supply and demand proposals," designed to
>both economic and environmental needs, the panel also pushed forDec 2004
>tighter fuel- economy standards and more support for renewable
>energy development, as well as for oil and gas exploration and
>nuclear power. Representatives from the Bush administration, the
>energy industry, and large enviro organizations all issued responses
>supporting the aspects of the report they've traditionally supported
>and opposing those aspects they've traditionally opposed. Sigh.
>straight to the source: The Houston Chronicle, David Ivanovich, 07
>straight to the source: The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and
>Justin Blum, 08 Dec 2004