The first step toward implementation of a nationwide cap and trade program has occurred. On Thursday, May 21, 2009, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a comprehensive clean energy bill that includes a strict limit on global warming pollution:
The 33 to 25 vote was a major victory for House Democrats, who had softened and jury-rigged the bill to reassure manufacturers and utilities — and members of their own party from the South and Midwest — that they would not suffer greatly.
This vote is a big deal.* Unless something drastic happens, the bill will easily pass through in the full House of Representatives. The next battle will occur in the Senate. While the press may not have significantly covered the Committee debates and vote, the Congressmen understood the importance of their vote:
"I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that this is a turning point, in the history of the United States and [its] energy sources," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s chief sponsors. "This is a day we’ve waited a long time on."
Have no doubt, this bill will greatly influence the green building industry. It includes specific provisions about greening new and existing buildings and the overall pollution limit will drive cost-effective energy efficiency in buildings, which are responsible for nearly 40 percent of the country’s emissions. I am not going to go through the Committee bill and pick out green building provisions (unless someone wants to pay me to do it!) because the final regulation will look much different.
I would love to hear your thoughts on cap-and-trade. Will it pass the Senate? What will the impact be on green building? Will it work?
*The vote is also a big deal because I get my lady back! Congratulations Melissa!