Let the climate change debates begin

Washington (and the chemical industry) is abuzz this week with the proposed American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act by House Reps Waxman and Markey.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed the bill on May 21 with a 33-25 vote. The bill aims to cut global warming pollution by 17% compared to 2005 levels in 2020, by 42% in 2030, and by 83% in 2050. The House is now expected to vote on the amended bill in the next few months.

The most controversial plan under the bill is the proposed cap-and-trade (or is it tax?) program where it would cap US industrial and transportation emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) and auction emissions permits to the broad industrial sector. The sale of emissions permits would likely raise $646bn during its first eight years of implementation, according to the White House.

The National Petrochemical Refiners Association (NPRA) released a statementsaying that foreign refiners, whose operating costs are much lower,will gain a distinct advantage over American businesses in themarketplace if the bill is implemented.

“The whole notion ofcapping carbon dioxide emissions, issuing allowances disproportionatelyto favored industries, and hoping that the false promise of ‘greenjobs’ could gloss over the current and real jobs that will be lost.” - NPRA

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) pointed out a more detailed analysis and suggestions where the bill can be revised to “prevent the leakage of U.S. production, jobs and emissions to other nations.”

“Thebill’s emission reduction target/timetable, treatment of energyfeedstocks, and energy efficiency provisions represent improvementsover past versions. However, some of the key issues related to thecompetitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturers have not yet beenadequately addressed, and changes are necessary.” - ACC

The American Petroleum Institute (API)said the bill will have a disproportionate adverse impact on consumers,businesses and producers of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, crude oiland natural gas. API said an average family will pay an additional$1,500 a year for energy and 74 percent more for gasoline.

“Today,that would mean gasoline prices above $4.00 a gallon, an increasenearly equivalent to a ten-fold rise in the federal gasoline tax.” - API

While several environmental groups applaud the bill such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) , others such as Greenpeace are not happy with it. Greenpeace said the bill is different from when it was drafted two weeks ago.

Several recent news reports indicate strong oppositions such as theHouse Agriculture committee and several committees in the Senate.

For ICIS subscribers, check out several more news stories about the climate change bill:

Chem, energy groups decry US House panel vote on climate bill

Climate Change Legislation will Provide U.S. Companies the Certainty Needed to Innovate

Dow lauds US House panel on climate change bill

US climate change bill called unfair to chemicals sector

INSIGHT: Patents threatened by climate change policies

DuPont, BASF see gold in a US emissions mandate

Obama sets $2.4bn to capture CO2 at chem sites, utilities

INSIGHT: Opposition mounts to climate bill

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