Obama’s Final Budget Calls for 100% Auction of Carbon Permits

by | May 8, 2009

obama-budget2President Obama’s final $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, released May 7, retains the controversial provision that all permits for carbon emissions will be auctioned.

Many in Congress are pushing for at least half of the permits to be given away.

If all emission permits are sold, that should pull in $646 billion in revenue during the course of the first few years of the program.

When asked if the President’s plan to auction all permits would stay in place when more details about the budget request are released next week, White House budget director Peter Orszag said to “anticipate no changes in our climate proposal,” reports Reuters.

One way or another, the cap and trade proposal will result in higher energy prices, said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

“Giving away allowances is effectively the same thing as selling them and giving the proceeds from the auction away,” the CBO’s David Elmendorf told the Senate Finance Committee, adding that the main point of cap and trade was to force lower emissions, not raise money.

Over 10 years, the auction of emissions could net $1.2 trillion dollars, Elmendorf said, indicating that consumers could expect the extra costs to show up in their electrical bills.

The National Mining Association said the $180 million in the budget for research and development of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) was “not enough,” reports the New York Times.

Nuclear power growth may suffer under the new budget. This year, the Nuclear Power 2010 Program received $177 million but the new budget gives it only $20 million next year, according to the Times.

The budget also does not include funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site, meaning the costs of accounting for nuclear waste will go up, making the energy more expensive, said the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The Department of Energy’s portion of the budget includes millions for renewable and next-generation energy efforts, including:

  • $475 million for a variety of renewable sources of electrical generation such as solar, wind, and geothermal
  • $671 million to accelerate the deployment of clean and rapidly deployable energy conservation measures to reduce energy consumption
  • $238 million for the Building Technology Program
  • $174 million to invest in research and development for a smart electrical grid
  • $333 million to develop lithium-ion batteries, plug-in hybrids, drive-train electrification, as well as test new fuels blends
  • $20 million for administrative costs to help enable the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program
  • $383 million for research and development of advanced nuclear technology and fuel cycle technologies
  • $133 million for the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to improve energy data and analysis programs

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