Cap and Dividend or Cap and Divide?
As the battle over a „cap-and-trade“ bill in the U.S. Senate went from hot to dead-cold after Dems showed signs of putting politics over policy and fencesitting Republican Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) left John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Liebermann (I-Conn.) alone with their „American Power Act“, a new sign of hope where one could go emerged.
The new approach was initiated by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) who introduced a bill (S.2877) that is only 39 pages long (compare: Waxman-Markey bill, passed in the House last year, had over 1.300 pages! the AMA has 987 pages!) and says pretty much what President Obama promised during his campaign: We get the money from the industry with a cap-and-trade and then distribute this money to the people of the U.S.A.. This effectively makes it a „cap-and-dividend“ system (see video on the left). Unfortunately, this proposals will most likely end up in some folder as most climate-bills did.
But from how it looks now, another road will be taken. Instead of making an economywide cap-and-trade system or even a clear, fair, and adjustable carbon tax, a sectorwide cap-and-trade for energy only is the frontrunner. If this leading idea (not even put into a good bill, apart from the Lugar-bill-tryout) ever reaches the aim is more than questionable. However, there are still bipartisan interests vested in a climate bill, despite „cap and trade“ being a dead term in Washington.
Meanwhile, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is trying to gather support on the ground of merely expanding existing climate legislation in the federal states. This minimalistic approach might all that we can hope for in the end. It seems the time of hitting the jackpot is over.