If you're dying to watch the House debate on the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill this afternoon, it's being televised on CSPAN, with a live feed here. The final vote will likely go down at around 5 today, though I assume that if Pelosi still doesn't have the votes, she'll wait until tomorrow. On that, Politico had a great piece today on the swing-vote Dems who are being pressured in both directions.
On a substantive note, here's a recent EPA analysis of the bill. Everyone wants to know about cost, and, according to the agency's modeling, the energy-efficiency measures for homes and appliances in the legislation will actually lower electric-utility bills 7 percent by 2020. Overall, the average household will likely pay $80 to $111 extra per year by 2020 to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions—mostly in the form of slightly higher prices for energy-intensive goods. That's in line with the recent CBO study finding very small costs for the bill.
And what will the cap on greenhouse-gas emissions do to the nation's energy mix? The EPA expects that coal use will decrease slightly by 2020; carbon capture and storage will become viable by 2015; and about 65 percent of new energy generation built by 2025 will be renewable. Joe Romm thinks the EPA's way too bullish on the prospects for carbon capture and nuclear power, but he also argues that the cost of cutting emissions might be cheaper than the agency predicts, as electric utilities switch from coal to somewhat cleaner natural gas. (A recent study found that the United States may have 30 percent more natural gas than previously assumed, which could have a big impact on emissions.)
Meanwhile, Josh Harkinson surveys the intra-green debate over this bill. Some groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, argue the bill's emissions targets are much too weak. According to the World Resources Institute, the bill would cut emissions 17 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 (that's when you include the cap plus complementary measures), while many scientists are urging a 25 to 40 percent reduction. And the bill is riddled with dubious offset provisions, as we've been chronicling. On the other hand, if this bill fails, it's unlikely Congress will touch the climate issue again for years, which could cause the global climate talks in Copenhagen this December to collapse. So a number of green groups believe this is their best shot at a carbon bill—and are hoping it will erect a basic framework that can be bolstered over time.