For Immediate Release


Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

"Breaking the Gordian Knot on Climate Legislation"

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday effectively
killed the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill for this legislative session,
saying: "We know we don't have the votes."

Co-author of "Climate Solutions: A Citizen's Guide,"
Barnes said today: "Now that the 'pragmatic' approach of buying off
special interests hasn’t worked, it’s time to try the alternative --
protecting families not corporations."

He recently wrote the piece "Breaking the Gordian Knot on Climate Legislation,"
which states: "The Senate is tied in knots on climate. In President
Obama's view, putting an economy-wide price on carbon is the most
effective way to stimulate clean energy investment and jobs. Most
Democrats -- though not enough -- agree. Roughly half a dozen
Republicans, given some political cover, might go along, but the party’s
leadership opposes a 'national energy tax.' Sixty filibuster-proof
votes are therefore not in sight. And after November, when Democrats are
expected to lose seats, the prospects look even grimmer. What is to be


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"The conventional wisdom is to court Senatorial votes by giving
handouts and exemptions to polluting industries. This has been the
strategy pursued by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joseph Lieberman
(I-Conn.), and 'pragmatic' greens until now. It hasn’t worked and isn’t
likely to. The complexities are too great, and throwing people’s money
at giant energy companies isn’t a popular idea these days.

"There is, however, another way forward. It starts with the
cap-and-cash-back approach, a.k.a. cap-and-dividend, embodied in the
bipartisan CLEAR Act co-sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and
Susan Collins (R-Maine). Their 39-page bill caps and prices all carbon
emissions, but instead of rewarding polluters -- most of whom will pass
their cost of polluting to their customers -- it protects the people who
will ultimately pay the bills -- namely, us.

"The CLEAR Act requires all first sellers of carbon -- fuel
companies like Exxon-Mobil and Peabody Coal -- to buy per­mits from the
federal government. These permits are auc­tion­ed, not given away free
(after all, polluters should pay), and three-quarters of the proceeds
are returned as equal payments to all legal U.S. residents. This is
accomplished electronic­ally every month, like Social Security. U.S.
manufacturers and workers are protect­ed by carbon fees at the border."


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