The Obama administration and a key player in Senate climate negotiations would consider a bill that caps greenhouse gas emissions from just the electric utility sector, which may face better political odds than an effort to cap emissions across the economy.
Naturally, that "key player" is Senator Joe Lieberman (I- Douchebag).
Yes, utilities are responsible for a large share of carbon emissions in America, primarily the coal and oil based plants. In practice, a form of carbon caps are in place on utilities already, since they can buy and sell power around the nation. More efficient plants, therefore, benefit from selling excess capacity to less efficient plants. This allows more efficient plants, which usually are less wasteful in carbon emissions too, to run at full capacity while encouraging less efficient and more polluting plants to lower their production.
This only happens at peak load times, tho, when it's cheaper for a utility to go buy power on the market rather than try to coax more power from its plants or worse, invest in a new plant that will lie idle much of the time. For normal capacity, this model does not exist.
It'll make a dent, but won't even begin to take effect until 2012, and won't be fully in place until 2018.
We. Don't. Have. That. Much. Time.
The UN IPCC has made it clear that, to avoid most of the major climate castastrophes associated with global warming, the world must see a 50-85%% reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2050.
That gives us less than forty years to design, implement, enact, and enforce carbon emissions rules. In a nation where it took 100 years to put in place even the pitiful program we laughingly called "healthcare reform" AND given that much of that century was spent in fairly benign political climates, what are the odds that in 2018, the morons on the radically idiotic right will cave and accept even the mildest carbon emissions caps?
Slim, and none. And Slim's out burning firewood.
Smack this asshole down, Mr President. Let's get this thing done.