This is great news: By a narrow margin of 219-212 the US House of Representatives voted to address climate change:
‘At the heart of the legislation is a cap-and-trade system that sets an overall limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide while allowing utilities, manufacturers and other emitters to trade pollution permits, or allowances, among themselves. The cap grows increasingly tighter over the years, pushing up the price of emissions and presumably driving industry to find cleaner ways of producing energy’.
It implies only a lousy $13US/ton CO2E initial carbon price in 2012 (comparable to the miserable Australian 2011 starting price of $10Aust) but it is a start. It won’t really begin to sharply reduce US carbon emissions for another 15 years and will cut US emissions by 2020 by only 4% below 1990 levels it to do – not by 40% as China wants (note the Australian minimum target of 5%). Nevertheless China has applauded the US bill as indicating a decisive change of heart. I agree and the closeness of the vote – almost no Republicans voted for it and there was fierce opposition among Democrats) the bill seems to be the best that could be achieved.
In a somewhat inappropriately timed op ed, Kimberley Strassel in the WSJ identifies a sea-change in the climate change debate towards scepticism. It is the WSJ and she does cite Ian Plimer and that supreme idiot Senator Fielding as Australian participants in this wave of change. But the continuing attempt by groups such as WSJ to misidentify trends is worrying. They will not give up.
Update: For once I agree with Paul Krugman – those in the US House of Representatives who voted against this bill are committing treason against the planet. There is science and there is stupidity.