Senator Claire McCaskill posted to Twitter today about the next big item on the federal revenue agenda:
Just arrived DC. On way to meeting with other Sens about cap & trade. Support concept but worried about execution.about 2 hours ago from TinyTwitter
Which Senators? I hope not any obstructionists.
Oh yes, cap and trade is definitely a very important addition to federal revenue:
Budget includes cap-and-trade revenues
By Jim Snyder
Posted: 02/26/09 01:59 PM [ET]
The budget drafted by the Obama administration assumes for the first time ever revenues from a cap-and-trade system designed to curb carbon dioxide emissions to reduce the threat of global warming.
Under such a system, polluters could buy and sell allowances on an open market to meet emissions targets. Obama will call for 2005 emissions levels to be reduced by 14 percent by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050, according to a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
In total, the budget assumes revenues of around $645 billion by 2019 to federal coffers through the program, although only $237 billion of that would be available by 2012.
Obama’s climate policy marks a significant shift from the approach by the Bush administration, which favored dedicating money to research ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but did not impose any hard and fast caps on industries….
Senator McCaskill on cap and trade in December:
…Question: I’d like to start with an easy issue and that is climate change. [audience laughter] I, I’ve been told that you are reluctant to support a cap and trade program or some other major federal effort to address climate change until the economy improves. It seems that every week, there’s a new study that comes out that says that the consequences of climate change are coming much more rapidly and much more severe than we have anticipated. And my, my concern is that we’ve really got to address this climate change issue early. We need to expect, in this climate change, for all of us to share some sacrifice. I have some pain, if a cap and trade program or a carbon tax, or something like that, is the best way to begin to address climate change. I believe we’ve got to do it.
Claire McCaskill: Well, let me, say that I – first of all, I support cap and trade. And my hesitation is not as much about the economy but the way it was, it was drafted in the beginning. And I think we’re going to do a better job as we got back at it again under the Obama administration. First of all, I hope that you noticed that the person who is going to head the Department of Energy is, his foremost expertise is in the area of global warming and climate change. And so, I think we’re going to have somebody at the head of the department that certainly understands the scientific risks that our planet faces because of what’s going on in our atmosphere. The way the bill was originally drafted, we were talking about fifty possibly, trillion dollars, as much as fifty trillion dollars being pre-spent. What they’ve done is they’ve divided up this money, and this is the money that would come about as a result of the auction. Essentially what you would do, is you would trade a commodity, a commodity is your ability to pollute. So if you were polluting, you’d have to pay for it. You’d have to buy goods to allow you to pollute. And if you weren’t polluting you earn benefits. So it’s really putting into the free market system an incentive to not put out carbon emissions. That’s essentially the simplest way to explain cap and trade. You, so, it becomes a free market. Now they’ve done this in Europe and they’ve had some success, but they’ve also had some failures. And we can learn from that. One of the things I didn’t want to see happen is, they were so busy handing out this money, to California and other – to buy them off, and this was all money that we weren’t going to spend in Congress. It was going to be spent by a board. Well as a former auditor, the idea that we were going to pre-spend fifty, over fifty trillion dollars without a whole lot of oversight kind of frightened me. And what I was most worried about was that the money wasn’t going to help citizens who were going to be faced with astronomical increases in utility costs. I want to make sure that we take the money from the auction and get it back to regular folks to help pay the utility bills. So it’s not, I’m, I’m for cap and trade, the devil’s in the details about how this is going to work. And I think we’re going to find that middle. And I know that Senator Obama agrees with me on this, he completely supports cap and trade, as did in fact, John McCain. They both were in favor of cap and trade. Now we’ve got to figure out how to make it work in a way that doesn’t damage working families and the middle class any more than they’re currently being damaged by this economy. And I think we can do that. I think we can do that. Okay, yes…