Let's stipulate that yes, of course it's stupid to subsidize “carbon capture and sequestration” for coal plants to the tune of billions of dollars, since CCS doesn't exist, and just getting coal out of the ground is rotten business. Of course, we'd like a faster ramp-up to lower emissions.
But really, there's only one hard and fast concern: Lowering our greenhouse gas output to the point where we can end global warming and stave off a cataclysm. The fact that some sausage-making, fecklessness, parochialism and special-interest buyoffs are included … well gosh, that's just SOP for Congress. Always has been. And the important stuff probably can't pass without the, uh, “sweeteners.”
Al Gore says it's a go — knowing that once the framework is in place, it can be amended, and knowing that the real fight will be in the Senate. Enviro-blogger and former EPA official Joseph Romm contradictorily gives the bill a “B-” for a grade, but also calls it a “stunning legislative achievement”:
To repeat, whatever people imagine that this bill “threatens” to do, what it actually does is enact into law a sweeping clean energy revolution that puts the nation on a path to virtually eliminate global warming pollution from the entire economy in four decades.
So look, as far as “questioning the leadership” of Waxman and Markey … I'm not interested in wasting my energy attacking the guys who are actually trying to get it right. Even getting this bill through the Senate (including Bayh, Landrieu, Dorgan, Stabenow, and other enviro-nuisances) would be a heroic achievement. Otherwise … continued slide to disaster.
So, I assume the criticisms are in good faith. But I'm more interested in how to strengthen Waxman and Markey's hands in a.) getting better legislation, if possible, and b.) getting it through the House and Senate. I just don't know how dogging the good guys helps.