Seeking to shape legislation before Congress, three major energy trade associations have shifted their stances and decided to back mandatory federal curbs on carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions that could accelerate climate change.
Or is it?
The groups say they now plan to use their lobbying clout to stake out positions that favor modest, economy-wide regulations, in hopes of minimizing anticipated energy-price increases and pre-empting state efforts that could result in a patchwork of differing state and regional regulations.
….Institute chairman James E. Rogers described the lengthy, closed meeting as “crossing a bridge” for members of the group, which previously supported only voluntary reductions. He added that his group wants a “safety valve” that would require the government to intervene as needed to keep the price of credits stable and low.
For now, call it a wash. From a public opinion standpoint, it’s good news to see even industry groups acknowledging the need for carbon caps of some kind. From a substantive standpoint, however, this is mostly just tacking with the wind. With a Democratic Congress in power, a flat opposition to carbon caps would have left them completely sidelined. Today’s announcement, they figure, at least gets them a place “at the table,” and that place will be used to lobby for the weakest possible national standards. And, of course, preemption of tougher state standards.
But at least it’s a start.