Next climate change bill pending

The House of Representatives is close to seeing another version of the massive climate change bill, with a compromise bill expected to be out of committee sometime Thursday:

Waxman had to compromise with Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) on one of his key goals –the overall level of carbon reductions by 2020. Waxman had wanted a 20 percent cut; Boucher has worried such a steep cut would outpace the development of new technologies like carbon capture from coal-fired power plants. They settled on a 17 percent cut instead.
Waxman also agreed to give utilities free initial allocations on nearly all of their emissions. Boucher had sought to give utilities the credits to avoid rate hikes for consumers.

And analysts Friedman Billings & Ramsey report:

• Large free-allocation to energy-intensive industries. The agreement would provide 35% of the total emission allowances, for free, to local electricity distribution companies and roughly 15% to energy-intensive industries, including steel, aluminum, chemicals, and glass. The free-allocation regime underscores our view that the coal industry will have significant assistance in transitioning to carbon constraint, whereas the oil sector will have relatively few protections.

• Some issues unresolved. Several issues remain unresolved, but leaders expect to hash details out this week and introduce legislation as soon as Thursday. The committee could then take up the bill by May 18.

• Committee Democrats also reached an agreement to include a 20% renewable electricity standard, requiring utilities to produce 15% of their energy from renewables and 5% from efficiency, with some flexibility. The Senate has struggled to pass a stringent RES.

As far as who will oversee what will likely be the largest new commodity market in decade, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is making sure it’s got a big chair at the table. The CFTC recently created an Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee to get ready for carbon and announced the committee members today.
They include:

• Elizabeth Moler, Executive Vice President of Exelon Corporation and former Department of Energy Deputy Secretary and Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

• Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

• Harvard Professor Robert Stavins

• Seth Goldman, President of Honest Tea and Board Member of the Calvert Foundation

• Jonathan Schrag, Executive Director of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc.

• Gary Gero, President of the California Climate Action Registry

• Heike Eckert, the Executive Vice President of Eurex

• Holly Koeppel, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of American Electric Power

• Jack D. Cogen, Chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association

• Tyson Slocum, Energy Program Director for Public Citizen

• Dominick Chirichella, a Partner at the Energy Management Institute.
Other previously appointed members include:
Dr. Richard Sandor, Chairman and CEO of the Chicago Climate Exchange
James Newsome, Director, CME Group and former CFTC Chairman
Jeffrey Sprecher, Laura Campbell, Skip Horvath, Sean Cota, Robert Pickel, Paul Cicio, Bob Anderson, William McCoy, Donald Casturo, Ron Oppenheimer, Kevin Fox, Anthony Mansfield, Brian Kelly, Michael Prokop and John Shelk.

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