An article yesterday by David Freddoso in the Washington Examiner explains how a provision in the Senate Climate Bill will expand the power of the executive branch to regulate carbon emissions and render the carbon credits created by the bill effectively useless. Senator Vitter held a press conference yesterday to talk about an “emergency provision” of the Kerry-Boxer bill that would require the President to “direct all Federal agencies to use existing statutory authority to take appropriate actions…to address shortfalls" if greenhouse gas levels climb above 450 parts per million. According to the Pacific Northwest National lab that limit will be reached in 2010 if undeveloped nations do not impose carbon restrictions on themselves.

This “carbon emergency” could result in the denial of all discretionary permits for carbon-emitting industries, and EPA regulation of carbon emissions. "In that context, the carbon credits won’t matter," Vitter told Freddoso yesterday. Even if a future President doesn’t want to penalize businesses based on an arbitrarily set threshold, the language of the bill would force the President to take the required action. This would also be a handy excuse for a President trying to have his cake and eat it to. He could expand his own power, while holding favor with voters because “his hands are tied.”
A similar provision also appeared in the House-passed Waxman-Markey Energy Tax. Wondering why you have never heard of it? "This provision was not focused on to any significant extent during the House debate," said Vitter. It is very easy to slip things into bills unnoticed when they are 1428 pages long.