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Environment

Requiem for Cap and Trade

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJanuary 27, 2010 9:23 PM

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David Roberts is first out of the box to note the obvious, after reading this story in today's Times, which quotes Republican Lindsey Graham:

Realistically, the cap-and-trade bills in the House and the Senate are going nowhere. They're not business-friendly enough, and they don't lead to meaningful energy independence.

Graham then drives the nail in the coffin when he adds:

What is dead is some massive cap-and-trade system that regulates carbon in a fashion that drives up energy costs.

Roberts, who had previously argued that even a weak cap and trade bill was better than nothing, seems ready to throw in the towel:

To me, regardless of what Obama or Reid may want, this signals the death knell for a comprehensive cap-and-trade program, this year and probably for the duration of Obama's term in office. If Graham won't go for it, no Republican will, certainly not the 6-8 Republicans needed.

I was going to hold off on posting about this momentous development until Joe Romm weighed in. Nobody's more wedded to the cap and trade bill than him. He's put all his chips on it. I'm kinda thinking he's going to play out that hand, no matter how rotten it gets. (Andrew Light should school him on how to win at poker.) But as of this writing, Romm is silent on Graham's bombshell. I don't imagine it'll stay that way for long. More importantly, I look forward to hearing what Roberts and other cap and trade advocates come up with as alternative policy paths. I've argued here that a true reset in climate policy will only come after some of the influentials start singing a new tune. That might happen real soon if Senator Graham is taken at his word. UPDATE (1/27, 12:30 pm): How weird is it that CP's news round-up mentions this story but not this one? This particular feature at the blog, in the way it studiously avoids any bad news to the party line, rivals Pravda. Still waiting for Romm to issue a judgment on the Graham quotes. UPDATE 2: (2:40 pm) Romm plays down the signficance of Graham's statements to the NYT. UPDATE 3: (1/28): David Roberts, after being "scolded by several progressive green friends," walks back his initial post. Nice backbone Dave, and how lame is it to blame the reporter? If anyone portrayed Graham's quotes out of context, it would be you (and me), not Broder. And I'm not seeing that, just a lot of walk back from him too.

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