Sometimes your leaders listen: Lloyd Doggett and the Safe Markets Development Act

We’ve been disappointed by the process that the American Clean Energy and Security Act has gone through recently, so a few weeks ago I went to go see my Congressman during his “neighborhood office hours” (at the Randall’s at the corner of William Cannon and MoPac) and talk to him about climate change.  Then this morning  I opened up my email inbox to find a communique from Congressman Lloyd Doggett.

Needless to say, it made me happy, so I’m sharing it with all of you.  This should serve as an example– contact your leaders and tell them how you feel about issues like climate change.  They do listen!  (Or if they don’t– make them!)

I also think his ideas about the “Safe Markets Development” would be a major improvement to any climate bill.  Read on to find out that experts also think it’s a good idea!

Full text after the jump….

doggett banner

May 28, 2009

Mr. Andrew Wilson

5xxx Little Creek Trl

Austin, Texas 78744

Dear Andy:

Knowing of our shared interest in fighting global warming and creating a robust green jobs economy, I would like to update you about my work in Washington.

This is an exciting time for those of us who have long wanted to make renewable energy affordable. Never before has there been such a push from both politicians and concerned citizens like you to get something done.

We cannot allow the fossil fuel special interests to blacken our chances at achieving a strong, clean energy economy in the same way that they blacken our skies. It is critical that the climate legislation this Congress produces ensure both price stability and environmental integrity.  To this end, I have introduced the Safe Markets Development Act. I designed this act to

-Cap carbon pollution;

-Head off market manipulation;

-And incentivize renewable energy technology.

I have also introduced the Green Transit Act, which would require metropolitan planning organizations to consider greenhouse gas emissions in long-range transportation plans and transportation improvement programs. Transportation is an integral factor in the transition to a clean energy economy.  We reached a milestone this past winter when a measure, which I authored and vigorously defended, to provide tax incentives for plug-in hybrids was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Austin has long been a leader in jumpstarting the clean energy economy.  Shortly after I brought House Speaker Nancy Pelosi here to learn about the Clean Energy Capital of the Nation, she congratulated our efforts, saying, “Austin’s green energy initiatives should serve as an example for other cities throughout the country.” She added “I came here to listen. I leave here impressed, but not surprised.  Lloyd Doggett has not only been an advocate for these issues, he’s been a proud booster of what’s been happening here. He has told us over and over as we’ve been writing the energy bill ‘I know this works . it’s already been implemented successfully in Austin.'”

Together we can build a clean energy future.  With your help, I am sure we can achieve it.

As we address climate change and many other important issues, please let me know your priorities by visiting http://www.house.gov/doggett.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett

Ways and Means Committee Hearing

“Price Volatility in Climate Change Legislation”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for convening this hearing. You know, it’s obvious that some people can just not envision the tremendous economic benefits of moving to a clean-energy economy. “Just say no,” or its companion, “Just say higher taxes,” or its cousin, “Just say higher energy cost,” is not a policy. It’s a state of denial. And that’s what we’ve seen here this morning.

Fortunately — and the attacks on the Lieberman-Warner bill, Warner is Senator John Warner, the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee who recognized this is a serious national security challenge, and that just relying on the good will of polluters at home and abroad will not solve this problem, is not a solution.

Dr. Lashof, I agree with you that there is something of a convergence here this morning. We have at least six people who’ve come to testify, all of whom are about trying to construct a solution. There are an almost endless number of problems with this whole issue, but we can’t abandon a solution. We need to try to figure out how to resolve each of these problems. I happen to think — and that’s why I filed the safe market legislation that Dr. Whitesell has with his work identified a mid- ground, a position that tries to get the benefits of limited price volatility with maximum emission reduction.

And let me just ask you, Ms. Chan, in that regard, doesn’t the safe market approach that Congressman Cooper and I have filed meet all of the objectives that you’ve set forth, that you want to see addressed here?

CHAN [Senior Policy Analyst/Deputy Director, International Team, at Friends of the Earth]: I think it does. Friends of the Earth obviously cares about the environmental certainty. So to the extent that your bill provides for that, that is — that’s our first concern.

And then, on top of that, with the report that we leased on subprime carbon, we are also pointing to the need to avoid the kind of market and regulatory train wreck that we are still sort of digging ourselves out of, especially when we don’t have a really set and tested regulatory regime to handle what will — what Wall Street will take and make into a very, very complex market. So I think that the benefits of price stability are not just in terms of being able to provide companies with the ability to plan and to make the breakthrough technology investments they need to, but it also ends up really addressing the, quote/unquote, “subprime carbon,” the financial — the runaway financial innovation questions which we raised in our report as well. So I would definitely say that your bill helps get us there to a good hybrid approach, as well as Mr. McDermott’s bill.

DOGGETT: Thank you. And, Dr. Elmendorf, you’ve noted the tension between trying to get price certainty and no market manipulation and trying to get emission certainty. There is a certain tension there. But doesn’t the safe markets approach achieve most of what one would seek on the price side while assuring some emissions certainty.

ELMENDORF [Director of the Congressional Budget Office]: I’d just say, Congressman, there is often a trade-off there. I think the safe market approach picks a particular time horizon over which to achieve this uncertainty — achieve a certainty of emissions relative to a longer-time horizon. Your plan achieves certainty more quickly, but would generate somewhat more price volatility as a result.

And I think you’re right, that your plan balances those various considerations in a particular way.
Lloyd Doggett