The not-so-CLEAR Act

Talk about a shell game! …it’s like the guy with on the table with the two, three walnut shells and there’s a little pea rollin’ back and forth. This is crap.
~John C. Dvorak on the CLEAR Act, NA 213

Cap and trade. I don’t have the exact episode number, but somewhere Dvorak asks “Why not just cap it?” Why not, I ask as well.

In comes the CLEAR Act. For one, the video is hokey and low-budget. I really liked the dry ice in the 2-liter bottle. That totally makes me think of fossil fuels.

But I’m stumped on this 100/75/25 thing.

“100% of the permits to bring fossil fuels into the economy will be auctioned from day one…75% of the auction revenue is returned directly to each American as equal monthly dividends. Every low- and middle-income family will come out ahead, or break even, as a result of the dividend covering their increased energy costs.”

So you’re going to charge polluters. Right.

Polluters then charge us. Naturally.

And then you give us 75% of that back. What. the. fuck.

What’s the point of charging them that extra money if you’re just going to give it back? That’s like a fucking rebate or something. Like a company that puts out a product that costs ten bucks but then turns around and gives me seven bucks and fifty cents back. Only it’s not a special, it’s a permanent thing. Why the hell don’t they just charge two-fifty and leave the other seven-fifty out of it altogether?

And how is the money returned as “equal monthly dividends,” but still allowing “low- and middle-income famil[ies to] come out ahead, or break even?” And how does one decide what an “equal monthly dividend” is? Is it all just supposed to work itself out? “Oh, Texans pay more for electricity in the summer, but it’s okay because the Minnesotans pay more in the winter?” Just charge me the damn two-fifty, people. Or is this supposed to try to lure me into lowering my energy costs so I can “come out ahead or break even?”

I’m so confused.

Supposedly the “0” is for “zero offsets.” Okay, I’m down with that. I think. My brain is still pretty frazzled, here. Is the two-fifty I’m paying supposed to go toward that, or something? Why not just disallow offsets altogether and give me back my money?

Sorry, person-narrating-this-hokey-movie, but it’s not a simple solution. If I’m confused, it’s not simple. I like to consider myself smarter than the average bear, so when I get confused by something that labels itself “simple,” I get scared.

So I do some more digging. I turn up a Grist article. “Preliminary analysis shows that CLEAR’s dividend would leave about half of all households, including all low income households, in a better financial position than without the program; and most remaining households, with the exception of some high energy users, would feel minimal financial impact on net.”

How? This has still not been explained to me. Furthermore, I’m sure most low-income families aren’t going to be able to finance having their money tied up in some governmental rebate system. They’ll make it through somehow, considering they do the same thing with the national income tax, but still. Income taxes hurt until you get them back. That’s money I could buy food with. Instead it get squirreled away for a year and the government uses it to fund wars or dog-shooting SWAT teams or something.

A brief mention in this article raises yet another question. “Under the standard approach, offsets can be attained by achieving certified emissions reductions in areas outside the cap, either internationally or in a domestic sector that is not covered, such as agriculture.”

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Agriculture is not covered? Why is agriculture not covered? So what is being covered?

Didn’t they say something about 100% earlier? Oh, right, they said 100% of permits. Not 100% of fossil fuels. So who’s being permitted? And how? And what’s to keep companies from just moving their shit out of the US? As if shit wasn’t fucked up enough as it is.

I guess I’m just going to have to fucking read the thing. Good thing it’s a much-touted thirty-nine pages. That’s what I get from trying to get my details from a promo video and some people off of Grist. Serves me right.


5 Responses to “The not-so-CLEAR Act”

  1. Dargon Says:

    Looks like I am going to have to take a break from the 838 Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform Act to read this one.

  2. Dry ice gives off CO2…

    • Dargon Says:

      It doesn’t give off CO2, it IS CO2

      • Just as ice melts it drips water, dry ice vaporizes into CO2 gas. Just because this was their composition before the physical change doesn’t mean they’re not emanating said substance. It gives off CO2 /because/ it is CO2.

        My point was that the CO2-emitting bottle in front of the CO2 emissions chart made at least some sense.

  3. […] 4, 2010 I intially dismissed the CLEAR act as yet another cap-and-trade bill, but upon reading the writeup on the Tiny Ouroboros and watching the silly promo video, I decided to give its much touted 39 pages a read, as it […]

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