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President Obama's Weekly Address - June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009: The White House

The President praises historic energy legislation passed by the House of Representatives. The legislation will help America create green jobs, ensure clean air for our children, move towards energy independence and combat climate change.

Details:

The Green Building Guide to Waxman-Markey

Today, the Waxman-Markey bill, otherwise known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) is set to be voted on in the House of Representatives. The very fact that the vote is occurring means this bill will pass in the House. This monumental bill would establish a cap-and-trade program to cut global warming pollution. Of course, a cap-and-trade program faces an even more difficult path in the Senate.

So what is a cap-and-trade program exactly?

More beneath the fold:

The cap: Each large-scale emitter, or company, will have a limit on the amount of greenhouse gas that it can emit. The firm must have an "emissions permit" for every ton of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere. These permits set an enforceable limit, or cap, on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that the company is allowed to emit. Over time, the limits become stricter, allowing less and less pollution, until the ultimate reduction goal is met.

The trade: It will be relatively cheaper or easier for some companies to reduce their emissions below their required limit than others. These more efficient companies, who emit less than their allowance, can sell their extra permits to companies that are not able to make reductions as easily.

Companies will be required to purchase the emissions permits from the federal government, which in turn results in a sizeable revenue stream to the federal government. Much of the back room politicking that has occurred over the last few weeks regarding the Waxman-Markey bill has involved how this revenue stream will be allocated to government programs.

In addition to establishing an overall cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, the Waxman-Markey bill contains several provisions which involve green building, and many green building and energy efficiency programs will be funded by the cap-and-trade revenue. Below is a summary of some of the major provisions regarding green building contained in the Waxman-Markey bill.

Section 201: National Energy Efficiency Building Codes

Section 201 of the Waxman-Markey Act calls for the development and adoption by state and local governments of a national energy efficiency code. A summary of the main provisions are as follows:

1. Establishes a "national energy efficiency building code" for residential and commercial buildings, sufficient to meet each of the national building code energy efficiency targets.

2. Sets energy efficiency targets for the national building code: "on the date of enactment of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, 30 percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with the baseline code...effective January 1, 2014, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2015, for commercial buildings, 50 percent reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code; and...January 1, 2017, for residential buildings, and January 1, 2018, for commercial buildings, and every 3 years thereafter, respectively, through January 1, 2029, and January 1, 2030, 5 percent additional reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code."

3. If consensus based codes provides for greater reduction in energy use than is required under the ACESA, the overall percentage reduction in energy use provided by that successor code shall be the national building code energy efficiency target.

4. Requires that states and local governments comply with or exceed the national energy efficiency building code, and provides for enforcement mechanisms for states which are out of compliance.

The federalization of building codes has the potential to save consumers large amounts of money on their energy bills by enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings nationwide, as well as addressing the 38 percent of carbon emissions generated by buildings in a comprehensive manner. On the other hand, it represents a major shift in the balance of power over building and land use regulation. Traditionally, building codes, like almost all land use regulation in the United States has been a local (in some cases, state) issue. This makes for a patchwork of different codes across the nation. Indeed, thirteen states have no statewide commercial building codes, and fourteen states have no statewide residential building code.

Proponents of local control of regulatory authority argue that local government can more appropriately respond to local conditions and can experiment more freely with different types of regulations than would be possible at the federal level. On the other hand, federal control of building codes provide uniformity across the country for a problem which does not respect state and local borders, prevents local challenges to individual energy efficiency efforts (like AHRI v. City of Albuquerque) and, given the large number of states which do not have a current building code at all, provides more effective regulation of this important source of carbon emissions.

Section 131, 132: SEED funds

According to analysis completed by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy,

"allocations detailed in Section 782g direct 9.5 percent of allowances in 2012 (and decreasing amounts thereafter) to go into a State Energy and Environmental Development (SEED) account to be used by state and local governments for efficiency and renewables projects."


The allocation of SEED money will be at the discretion of local and state authorities.

One of the programs that can be funded by these allocation are Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bonds. PACE bonds involve loans to commercial and residential property owners to finance energy retrofits. Through the interest generated on these bonds, a revolving fund is established to allow for even more retrofits to occur. Already, California and Missouri have announced plans to use funding from the Department of Energy State Energy Program to establish PACE bond programs. Look for more states to jump on the PACE bond bandwagon and use cap-and-trade revenue to fund similar programs.

Section 202: REEP Program

With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Energy's State Energy Program received billons of dollars. Under the Waxman-Markey bill, the State Energy Program will again receive billions of dollars for more energy efficiency retrofits. From the Pew Center on Climate Change (PDF):

"This section requires the Secretary of Energy to develop a Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program to facilitate building retrofit programs for energy efficiency and efficient water use. Funding will be made available through REEP to the State Energy Programs for state and local efforts, including audits, incentives, technical assistance, and training. States are permitted to choose funding mechanisms, with options including credit support, such as interest rate subsidies or credit enhancement, providing initial capital, and allocating funds for utility programs."


The REEP program has not been created yet so it is unclear what the program will look like. Based on the DOE's previous support for PACE bond programs when allocating ARRA funds, don't be surprised to see even more of these programs established through REEP.

Green Act: H.R. 2336--Amendment to Waxman-Markey

On May 7, 2009, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) introduced H.R. 2336, the Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods Act of 2009 ("GREEN ACT"). According to Perlmutter's office, "The GREEN Act provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers, who build, buy or remodel their homes and businesses to improve their energy efficiency and use of alternative energy."

In essence, the Act:

1. Encourages energy efficiency in HUD housing by offering block grants and credit for energy improvements in the underwriting of mortgages;

2. Provides that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have a duty to serve very low, low and moderate income communities while developing underwriting standards to facilitate a secondary market for energy-efficient and location efficient mortgages;

3. Requires federal banking regulators to establish incentives for the development and maintenance of "green banking centers" for the purpose of providing information to customers seeking information about acquiring green mortgages.

Interestingly, Perlmutter's GREEN Act passed the full House of Representatives as part of HR 6899, the Comprehensive Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act in September 2008, but the Senate failed to take action on this legislation. The GREEN ACT was added this morning to the manager's amendment to the Waxman-Markey bill.

Historic legislation that will help secure our nation by moving us toward energy independence.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (30)

GianiD:

Waxman-Markey Bill: Dumb and Dumber

Cap and Tax Top Ten List

1. Cap and Trade Is a Massive Energy Tax

2. It Will Not Make a Substantive Impact on the Environment

3. It Will Kill Jobs

4. It Will Cause Electricity Bills and Gas Prices to Sharply Increase

5. It Will Outsource Manufacturing Jobs and Hurt Free Trade

6. It Will Make You Choose Between Energy, Groceries, Clothing, and Haircuts

7. It Will Be Highly Susceptible to Fraud and Corruption

8. It Will Hurt Senior Citizens, the Poor, and the Unemployed the Worst

9. It Will Cost American Families Over $3,000 a Year

10. President Obama Admitted "Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket" Under a Cap-and-Trade Program (January 2008)

Jay Tea:

Good lord, it's a cornucopia of stupid.

In a time of economic crisis (anyone noticed that the unemployment rate is considerably HIGHER than Obama said it would be without his "stimulus" program?), he's planning on increasing the costs of the very linchpin of our civilization -- affordable energy.

Who could come up with such a stupid idea?

Must be a Democrat.

The same party that's blocking pretty much every "alternative" energy proposal. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry stopping wind power off Cape Cod. Dianne Feinstein is keeping the Mojave Desert from being used for solar power. And if you ever wanna cause a rush on Depends, mention "nuclear" to Greenpeace or your run-of-the-mill liberal.

Add in the ongoing ban on drilling oil off our shores and Obama's pledge to "bankrupt" anyone that wants to build a new coal power plant, and we're left with... um... er...

Well, Hope and Change.

How many megawatts is that worth?

J.

Jay Tea:

Well, on the plus side, as Obama noted, it'll funnel a lot more money into the federal government, and any time Washington sucks up tons and tons of money from the private sector, that's a good thing... especially when those businesses are on the ropes already from a suffering economy.

Sigh...

J.

pvd:

Who can forget these hits from the One, the Only, The Dear Leader:

"What I've said is that we would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is more -- that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody else's out there, so if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them..."

and,

"When I was asked earlier about, uh, the issue of coal, uh, you know, under my plan, uh, of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

It's not like he didn't tell us.

It not like it hasn't been tried elsewhere. Spain did it and, for every new job created, killed three jobs.

I can't wait to see the market react over the next couple of weeks especially if the Senate looks like its going to pass this turkey of a bill.

And I can't see private enterprises doing any hiring any time soon.


pvd:

J.

Good lord, it's a cornucopia of stupid.

Chill, dude. The cornucopia of stupid is only half full. Wait until they're done with killing old folks, er, health care.

Then the military.

Then any profitable (private) business that hasn't already succombed.

Remember Einstein: The difference between genuis and stupidity is...?


pvd:

Pardon the cut and paste but I didn't have time to develop my own study, so I'm using this one.

Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) released a new study that determines the potential economic impacts of the federal cap-and-trade system outlined in the bill. Compiled by CRA International, the analysis determines that by 2030 the law would:


· reduce national GDP roughly $350 billon below the baseline level;

· cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs (even after accounting for new "green" jobs); and

· reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 per year.

krkrjak[TypeKey Profile Page]:

With the house passing that piece of crap bill I guess it's a foregone conclusion that Mr "Sham Wow" Obama can sell anything to anyone.

Lee Ward:

I'm curious why you edited the name of the organization, pvd...?

You wrote that you cut and pasted this:

Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) released a new study that determines the potential economic impacts of the federal cap-and-trade system outlined in the bill.

Googling, I can't find those exact words anywhere on Google. From where did you cut and paste?

What I found is that in fact the organization is not the "Chamber of Commerce"...

The National Black Chamber of Commerce released a study with some disturbing findings.

Here's a link to the study:

http://www.nationalbcc.org/images/stories/documents/CRA_Waxman-Markey_%205-20-09_v8.pdf

I don't consider the NBCC a unbiased source. According to wikipedia...

Sponsorship and related positions

Identified on NBCC website 12/20/2007

* Tobacco Company Altria. NBCC has opposed tobacco control legislation.
* ExxonMobil has provided $225,000, per a Greenpeace analysis titled ExxonMobil's Continued Funding of Global Warming Denial Industry[1]
* AT&T and Verizon. NBCC has opposed Network Neutrality, a position strongly held by AT&T and Verizon.
* Comcast. NBCC has opposed A La Carte pricing, a position strongly held by Comcast.

Check this out... Altria is NBCC sponsor, and...

In testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding Senate Bill S.625, the NBCC stated that it opposes increased FDA regulation of tobacco. The reason for its opposition is that the regulation would impose fees affecting small tobacco retailing and distribution businesses in the U.S., many of which are owned by Black Americans.[2] The statement contained no reference to health risks associated with using tobacco products.

The National Black Camber of Commerce appears ot produce studies and support positions based on their sponsor's interests.

This smells really bad. I call "bullshit" on the use of a NBCC to support an position against the current legislation. This is obviously one of the 'sponsored' studies...

link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Black_Chamber_of_Commerce

pvd:

Lee,

I think you just engaged in an ad hominem attack. I cut, I paste, so carefully to deceive but leave an identifier in?

Or I cut, I paste, the study that I found googling.

Cap and trade is bad for jobs and is especially regressive to the poor and middle class.

drlava:

I would post a comment but come on........

The responders to Lee's post are the same brain dead bunch of mutants that for the past 8 years cheered and championed Bush, a man with an IQ of about 80.

It's just not worth the effort to respond. Why would you go to a school for autistic kids and discuss fractals.


pvd:

Yeah, looked at your link.

They have people they agree with.

Nothing in the wiki entry indicates that they are bought and paid for.

If we look at Al Gore's company and the proposals he's making, should a similar charge be lodged?

And why do they have such a prominent picture of Obama if they're so in the tank for the corps?

At a quick glance, I saw an article on fighting for stimulus money. Let's quote them:

I write this letter to protest the festering and damaging state of affairs at the Federal Highway Administration in regards to Executive Order 11246 and Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These very precious laws are not being adequately monitored nor enforced by your departments and many thousands of Black firms and millions of Black citizens are being denied equal opportunity.

Yup, that's a position that I would expect sell-outs to take.

or this one:

When you get right down to it, you can call it just plain psychological warfare. It is pretty much what the maniacal propaganda minister for Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels would say, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, then people will begin to believe it". That is what classic bigots of the far right movement are practicing when they claim that someone is a "racist" or a "reverse racist". They exclaim that Affirmative Action is evil and is racist in principle. The real fact is that without Affirmative Action discrimination and the ills of racism fester and affect a targeted class in this nation, i.e. people of color and too often females regardless of color.

Yeah, I was sure sneaky in finding these sell-outs to quote. It couldn't be that they did their own analysis and reached their own conclusions, could it?

pvd:

Interestingly, it appears that domestic petroleum production will be hit with a double tax leading to increased foreign imports.

That doesn't square with the "moving us toward energy independence." hope and change some expect.

Jay Tea:

It would appear that drlava is engaging in personal attacks and refusing to address the topic at hand. Sounds like some violations of the recently-revisited terms and policies discussed here of late in a now-closed thread...

J.

Tim:

You're fighting an uphill battle, PVD. The National Black Chamber of Commerce? Obviously a bunch of racists who just can't stand having a black man in the White House. I mean, why else would anyone ever oppose anything Teh One does?

Lee Ward:

How about a link to the page that you 'cut and pasted' from in comment #6?, pvd.

I've googled the words that you cut and pasted and cant find them via google.

Its easy - just copy and paste the address in the url bar -- http://www..... etc

Thanks pvd.
Lee

pvd:

The nice thing about uphill battles is that they'll keep you warm in a Maunder Minimum.

If we're going to hike the energy bills, I'm going to need some more down quilts for the bed.

pvd:

Lee,

I don't understand your last comment.

I started here

Is that what you're asking?

The quoted segment is the first paragraph of the press release.

Went here

and looked for a synopsis here

pvd:

Sequence is a little goofed up. Sorry. The final link is to the press release.

pvd:

"Chamber of Commerce" are the first words on the line were I started my cut. From the top, it's:

Press Release:

WASHINGTON -- Today, in anticipation of Friday's House Energy and Commerce Committee vote on the Waxman-Markey legislation, the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) released a new study that determines the potential economic impacts of the federal cap-and-trade system outlined in the bill. Compiled by CRA International, the analysis determines that by 2030 the law would:

· reduce national GDP roughly $350 billon below the baseline level;
· cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs (even after accounting for new "green" jobs); and
· reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 per year.

NBCC President and CEO Harry Alford notes, "These findings add to a growing body of evidence that demonstrates cap-and-trade would make American consumers poorer and the products they buy more expensive.

"Moreover, the NBCC study finds there will be little, if any, environmental impact to justify the high price U.S. families will have to pay, since the trading system will deliver virtually negligible changes in global CO2 emissions so long as developing nations such as China and India don't buy in.

"The House cap-and-trade bill seems to profit special interests at the expense of small businesses and hard-working families. It's evident from the some 85 percent of emissions permits that politicians have already given away for free to favored industries that the 111th Congress is learning that producing laws (like making sausages) requires a lot of pork.


Lee Ward:

Thanks, pvd.

And by calling 'bullshit' on the study I wasn't attacking you, but questioning the validity of the study and integrity of the authors of the study.

Anytime you post information on Wizbang Blue you can expect a fact-check, and I always welcome fact-checking on anything I post.

regards,
Lee Ward

Doubting Thomas:

"It's just not worth the effort to respond."...

Says the guy who ignores info that's published from ideologically incorrect sources, even if it's the SAME info that ABC reports.

Doubting Thomas:

Sorry, that was for the Lava post at 11:23PM.

pvd:

Da nada. It's cool. No problemo.

Jay Tea:

Thomas, don't bother answering lava. That troll has violated the rules of commenting here, and I'm fully confident that he will be duly warned to abide by them or be banned.

J.

Doubting Thomas:

LOL.

Look! It's a self-propelled aerial pig!

Lee Ward:

The removal of comments is not very common. I usually will leave them up as evidence of the reason why that person was eventually banned.

And the odd off-topic screed, if not directed at anyone in particular, is not grounds for banning.

Repeated off-topic comments, especially those which are derogatory towards specific individuals, are not allowed.

Jay Tea - you've posted two comments in this thread which have nothing to do with the topic -- and your comments are encouraging other trolls to do the same. This after a long discussion on other threads where you were informed that this is unacceptable.

You're hereby warned - continuing this course will result in the remove of your commenting privileges. You know the rules, start living by them.

There may not be a second warning. We've discussed this enough. You apparently have no intention of living within the rules. Do it again and your banned. This is not a topic for discussion, so email me if you have questions.

Lee

Jay Tea:

My apologies, Mr. Ward. I thought you'd appreciate the heads-up on lava's misconduct.

But back on topic... this whole "Cap and trade" idea is going to absolutely destroy the economy. It's hinged on finding some magic solution to replace pretty much all the known forms of energy generation -- all of which are being suppressed (through taxation and regulation) by the Democrats.

And all of Obama's eloquence at describing it doesn't change that fact one whit.

J.

ke_future:

sorry for the off topic question, but i have a question regarding the TOS that have been referenced on this thread and on some previous threads.

why has Jay been warned about his comments, while drlava, who consistantly posts personal attacks has not? i'm seeking clarification so that i know what the actual standards are so that i do not run afoul of the TOS.

on topic,
how can obama one the one hand state that the cap and trade will result in a significant revenue stream for the government without also addressing where the money will ultimately be coming from, namely the consumer? this seems to be a stealth tax on everyone. and didn't obama promise during the campaign that 95% of Americans would not see a tax increase?

Lee Ward:

Already discussed, ke. - see #26 above.

Stay on topic, please - Lee

ke_future:

thanks for the response, lee. i think it might be useful to have a post on the TOS and posting rules since several frequent posters seem to have questions. like i said, i'm merely trying to avoid getting banned.


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