Kate Mackenzie Environmental blogosphere dust-up over Waxman-Markey

The Waxman-Markey/ACES bill may have only made it through one of several big hurdles in Congress, but it’s already creating unhappiness in the blogosphere. Greenpeace criticised the bill a couple of weeks ago, arguing that the political compromises had made it too weak.

Now Joe Romm, formerly a senior Clinton government official on renewable energy and efficiency, is not happy. The Breakthrough Institute has gained a lot of coverage for its lengthy assessment of the legislation, which argues as it does not include a binding cap on emissions, the relevant sectors will continue to increase their emissions as they otherwise would. TBI hit back, accusing him of trying to “shut down the climate bill debate” and it has even set up a category devoted to the subject.

He is under attack even from ‘friends’ as he points out in his latest post:

My ‘friend’ A. Siegel wrote on his blog last week (and republished on DailyKos and Grist):

Joe Romm, who has been cheer-leading Waxman-Markey recently (despite much on-the-record work that provides a basis for highlighting its inadequacies), says that it might (MIGHT) give us a 10-20% chance of stabilization at 450 ppm and avoiding catastrophic climate change. Hmmm … what wonderful odds.

I don’t see how giving a B- grade to the bill and asserting it has a small chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change qualifies as “uncritical enthusiastic support for somebody or something,” to use Encarta’s definition of “cheerleading.”

Not that Romm can’t give as good as he gets. Yesterday he wrote a furious post calling for the Washington Post’s editorial page editor to be sacked – or, at least, moved to the obituaries desk – for running a piece by Martin Feldstein critical of the bill; which was similar to a piece run by the WSJ two weeks earlier.

In defence of our fellow MSM-ers, we’d point out that it’s uncommon, but not completely unheard of for newspapers to run similar comments/op-eds; and presumably the Washington Post decided its audience was sufficiently different from the WSJ’s to bother.

Well then. Once the somewhat dull comparisons of the two pieces are out of the way, he does get part-way through taking Feldstein’s arguments which might make for an interesting read – for example the 85 per cent of allocation giveaways and the $1,700 cost per year for the average American family; both subjects worthy of examination. For those who want to do the full forensics themselves, Feldstein’s  Washington Post oped is here and his WSJ piece is here.

Related links:

Expect pork-barrelling on the path to a US cap-and-trade scheme (FT Energy Source, 09/04/09)
The Waxman-Markey US climate change bill: How much will it cost? (FT Energy Source, 27/04/09)
Another view on cap-and-trade giveaways (FT Energy Source, 28/05/09)