Barack Obama has been accused of watering down the climate change bill following pressure from coal and oil companies. The policy that originally would have required companies wanting to build greenhouse gas emitting power stations and producing carbon emissions to pay for a permit and penalised them per tonne for carbon emitted has been diluted following discussions in Congress.
Criticism is borne from a number of changes, including a dramatic change in the percentage reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990. This stands to be down to 4%, which Greenpeace’s Joss Garman pointed out on Newsnight tonight ought to be 40%. In addition, the carbon permits that were originally planned to be paid for will now be given out free to 85% of emitters; another aspect of the bill that is receiving criticism.
The carbon emissions permits were anticipated to collect $78.6 billion in revenue according to the budget unveiled in February this year, however a ceiling has now been put on the cost per tonne that companies emitting greenhouse gases will be be charged. The limit will now be $28 per tonne of CO2 produced, and when you consider Obama was looking to use 80% of the revenue generated from carbon taxing on renewable energy helping to offset higher energy costs for the American people, the implications could be quite severe.
As well as meaning less deterrent for building further generations of dirty fossil fuel plants by reducing the cost involved that would have made projects like coal power stations economically unviable, green technologies such as wind farms and other important sources of alternative and renewable energy are likely to be reduced because of the reduced amount of money available in funding.