Seriously. You’ve been slacking, and you know it. You said to yourself, “It’s okay that he’s shorter than me… I’ll just wear flats.” You then compromised further by saying, “He may be prematurely balding, but he’s so nice to me. I deserve a nice boy.” Finally, you convinced yourself that “even though he doesn’t like Spinach (as he should), he must get his greens elsewhere…”. Ladies, you know you do this. Keep it up, and you’re going to end up settling. Settling for less than you deserve.
Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico doesn’t think that’s okay. He is trying to look out for you. He wants you to have hope, no matter how unrealistic that hope actually is. As his parting gift from the U.S. Senate, he’s giving you some standards.
Now, he doesn’t think that you, much like the rest of the country, will actually adopt his standards. Even though he’s going to try to ease you into them. In fact, he’s not going to punish you if you slip up and compromise on an item or two. In fact, he says he’ll simply reward you for your good behavior. He’ll reward you for even marginally good behavior, like dating someone who is your height instead of your ideal 6’4”. Because dating someone your same height is progress.
It’s funny how the clean energy standard proposed by Mr. Bingaman is much like a dating standard, isn’t it? Just ponder it for a minute. This week, he, as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced yet another attempt at a clean energy standard (or, if we’re getting technical an “energy standard,” since there was an attempt for it to be a renewable energy standard before it was a clean energy standard) with his creatively titled bill “The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012.”
The bill only applies to utilities that are selling electricity to retail customers, which means that the vast majority of municipal and cooperative utilities will never need to meet the standard. Those that do have to meet the standard would simply have to sell a certain percentage of their electricity from clean sources. Like those standards proposed before, the percentage would grow over a period of time. Utilities would be given credit that can be used toward meeting the standard based upon an energy’s carbon emissions. So utilities that don’t emit carbon (renewable or energies considered clean (nuclear)) receive a full credit; using energies that are “cleaner” (natural gas, coal with carbon capture and storage) will get half credit. The system would go into effect starting in 2015 and only for the largest utilities (think the girl friends you have who really, really need help), amounting to only 8% of all utilities. In 2025, the bill would apply to 13% of utilities. So it’s really only applying to those utilities that have the biggest impact.
Wonderfully, the bill doesn’t cost the government anything to execute. Furthermore, the Energy Information Administration estimates that the bill will have little to no effect on nationally averaged electricity prices during the first ten years of the program.
The sad truth is, like many women out there, our country will end up settling for less and suffering for it. Bingaman can’t even promote his bill in the name of reducing GHGs or helping to combat climate change. He is promoting simply as an energy bill that will help move our country on a path toward better, domestically produced energies.
I agree with many other folks who say this is great because it keeps the conversation going (C2ES’s Nikki Roy, CAP’s Joe Romm, UCS’s Angela Anderson). But like so many other things in life (dating), how many times are you going to touch the stove before you realize you’re going to get burned? This is the sound of settling.
For a summary of the bill, check out the Senate Energy and Natural Resources website: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=fc9b3145-c145-4c29-b0c7-36068482b127