Climate Change is Back on the Table - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Climate Change is Back on the Table

Posted: Updated:

(CNN) - Climate change is once again a hot topic in the Untied States.

Hurricane Sandy brought the issue back into the spotlight just days before the presidential election. Pundits were quick to note the irony of a massive superstorm striking after three presidential debates that didn't mention climate change once.

After the storm, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg evoked the issue again, pointing to climate change specifically in an unexpected, last-minute endorsement of President Obama.

And if there was any lingering doubt about the issue being back in the limelight, the president dispelled it Tuesday night by mentioning global warming in his acceptance speech alongside other priorities like budget and tax reform.

"We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet," he said.

The question now is this: when do we see an actual proposal to limit greenhouse gases, and what does it look like?

Reining in climate change

One option is some type of tax on carbon, coming in 2013 as part of broader negotiations over the budget and deficit.

There are many different ways to structure a carbon tax, but it generally involves taxing the use of fossil fuels like coal or oil, and using the proceeds for tax cuts, deficit reduction or clean energy funding. Consumers most likely see it in the form of higher utility bills or, possibly, gasoline prices. Most proposals have some type of mechanism to exempt low income people from paying it.

One proposal studied by the Congressional Budget Office said a carbon tax would raise between $88 billion and $144 billion a year for the government.

The idea has bipartisan support. Conservatives like it as the money can be used to reduce the deficit or cut other taxes, and liberals like it because it makes cleaner energy like wind and solar more competitive.

"If we're going to do a grand deal on taxes, (a carbon tax) will be high on the president's list of priorities," said Dan Clifton, a partner at Strategas, a research firm that serves institutional investors. "But it would have to be part of a compromise for Republicans to accept something."

Clifton puts the chances of a carbon tax up for serious debate at 20% currently, but higher if a grand deal on taxes takes shape.

Still, the chances of a carbon tax actually passing remains low.

"I think there will be some opposition from many sides," said Whitney Stanco, an energy analyst at Guggenheim Securities' Washington Research Group. "From conservatives because it's a tax increase, from liberals because it's likely a regressive tax increase and from environmental groups because it would be used to pay down the deficit, not invest in clean technologies."

Stanco sees several climate proposals emerging in the next Congress, which could include anything from requirements that utilities buy more renewable power to the rebirth of laws capping greenhouse gases. But she doesn't see any of them going very far.

"Yes, the climate change issue will likely gain some momentum post-Sandy, but it's got a long way to go from its current rank at the bottom of voter's priority list."

Another way additional climate change rules could become more enshrined in U.S. policy, is the continued tightening of rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, combined with actions from other nations that force costs on U.S. companies that aren't operating under some type of mandatory carbon reduction plan.

"Warming policy is back on the front burner, but we think it has less to do with superstorm Sandy and more to do with trade pressures on the other side of the Atlantic and pending EPA rules," said Kevin Book, managing director of research at ClearView Energy Partners. "A second-term Obama Administration sets up progress on both fronts."

  • Basketball Team Shows Support for Coach Battling Parkinson's Disease

    Basketball Team Shows Support for Coach Battling Parkinson's Disease

    If you know anyone who's battled Parkinson's Disease, you know how difficult the disease is. On Saturday, dozens of people raised awareness and money for research to help those who are living with Parkinson's right here in the Coastal Bend. Bright and early, kayak races were held at Billish Park on Padre Island. The event is called Paddle for Parkinson's. The money raised will help support local people who are battling the disease such as "Coach K" who coaches high school basketball in Port...More >>
    If you know anyone who's battled Parkinson's Disease, you know how difficult the disease is. On Saturday, dozens of people raised awareness and money for research to help those who are living with Parkinson's right here in the Coastal Bend. Bright and early, kayak races were held at Billish Park on Padre Island. The event is called Paddle for Parkinson's. The money raised will help support local people who are battling the disease such as "Coach K" who coaches high school basketball in Port...More >>
  • Pet Owner Arrested, Accused of Cutting off Dog's Leg

    Pet Owner Arrested, Accused of Cutting off Dog's Leg

    New developments this weekend in connection with an animal cruelty case we've been tell you about. Police say they have arrested the pet's owner who is accused of cutting off the dog's leg. 48 year old Steven Mulligan has been charged with animal cruelty and is in jail in lieu of a $25,000 dollar bond. The dog's name is Bugsy. Investigators say Mulligan, in an attempt to deal with an infection in the dog's leg, gave the dog a human pain killer, and then proceeded to cut it off. The director ...More >>
    New developments this weekend in connection with an animal cruelty case we've been tell you about. Police say they have arrested the pet's owner who is accused of cutting off the dog's leg. 48 year old Steven Mulligan has been charged with animal cruelty and is in jail in lieu of a $25,000 dollar bond. The dog's name is Bugsy. Investigators say Mulligan, in an attempt to deal with an infection in the dog's leg, gave the dog a human pain killer, and then proceeded to cut it off. The director ...More >>
  • Police Successfully Prevent a Woman from Jumping off the Harbor Bridge

    Police Successfully Prevent a Woman from Jumping off the Harbor Bridge

    Some tense moments for Corpus Christi Police as they tried to prevent a woman from jumping off the top of the Harbor Bridge. It happened around 4 Saturday afternoon, when police say a 47 year old woman stepped over the rail and attempted to commit suicide. Police quickly responded and closed off several lanes of the Harbor Bridge. The officers called in the hostage negotiation team and had the Marina Patrol shut down the Port of Corpus Christi for a brief time. Fire fighters assisted in tryi...More >>
    Some tense moments for Corpus Christi Police as they tried to prevent a woman from jumping off the top of the Harbor Bridge. It happened around 4 Saturday afternoon, when police say a 47 year old woman stepped over the rail and attempted to commit suicide. Police quickly responded and closed off several lanes of the Harbor Bridge. The officers called in the hostage negotiation team and had the Marina Patrol shut down the Port of Corpus Christi for a brief time. Fire fighters assisted in tryi...More >>