The Skywriter

New iCAP Climate Bill Unveiled by Representative Markey

30
May

New iCAP Climate Bill Unveiled by Representative Markey

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"I am here today because the chorus for change is deafening. The time for action is now," said Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) on Wednesday at a press conference, during which he unveiled the "Investing in Climate Action Policy Act," a.k.a. the iCAP bill.

In spite of mediocre legislation moving though the Senate, Markey's new iCAP bill brings a new sense of climate reality to the House. Here are some highlights (please excuse the jargon):

  • Cuts carbon 85% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Auctions off 100% of our pollution permits by 2020
  • Sends direct cash-back from the auction to households earning less than $70,000/yr.
  • Invests in green workforce training
  • Places near-moratorium emissions standards on new coal plants

The small "i" on "iCAP" is there to emphasize the new, tech-savvy "cap and invest" paradigm. In his speech, Markey compared the bill to legislation in the mid-90's that spurred the technological revolution we're enjoying today. "We've got to take the thumb off the scale, and let new technology compete," he said.

For more details, you can check out Rep. Markey's website.

Makey's bill shows fantastic leadership, but it also shows how much work we have left to do to push our members of Congress to a place where the policy matches the science. For example, although the bill is informed by a year-and-a-half of hearings, it does not directly mirror the science in terms of its short term targets.

Markey's bill calls for reductions of 20% below 2005 levels by 2020, which is only 7% below 1990 levels by 2020. The science demands that developed countries like the U.S. cut carbon at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.

In addition, we need to note that there is very little room for error when it comes to building more coal plants. We need nothing short of an uncompromising moratorium on any new plants planning on emitting global warming pollution. In the meantime, we need to pivot boldly away from fossil fuels, using technologies available now, to confront our energy realities. We need to be the political wind at the back of science-based change, and justice-based politics.

Let's keep this movement moving!

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