I have railed in the past about the deception of calling the mechanism of carbon offset trading a market, because it gives the cachet of the free market to a government-rigged system.  If you have doubts about that, this should answer them.  From OpenMarket.org, Waxman-Markey: What’s new, what’s old?

“President Obama had campaigned on a cap-and-trade plan in which 100% of the emission allowances would be auctioned…Of course, the last thing companies subject to emission caps want to do is pay $646 billion or more for the right to produce or use energy. So the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the main corporate lobby for cap-and-trade, lobbied for a system with mostly free rationing coupons, and that’s what they got. Under the revised Waxman-Markey bill, from 2012 through 2025, the electricity sector will receive 35% of the allowances gratis and natural gas distribution companies will receive 9%, with free distributions phasing out from 2026 through 2030. In all, 85% of the rationing coupons are allocated free-of-charge to industry and other interests.”

If you’re thinking, the power producers aren’t paying, so I won’t, either, think again:

However, the big picture should not change just because Waxman and Markey have decided to distribute 85% of the ration coupons free-of-charge. What chiefly determines any cap-and-trade scheme’s macro-economic and energy price impacts are the stringency of the caps, not how allowances are distributed under the caps.

As the caps tighten, the number of ration coupons declines, and so does the supply of carbon-based energy. As the supply falls relative to demand, energy prices increase, which then reduces economic output and employment.

So don’t be fooled! Electricity and fuel prices will reflect allowance prices, which will be determined by supply and demand, not by whether the allowance was initially auctioned or handed out for free. Think of it this way. The price at which a scalper can sell Super Bowl tickets outside the stadium is the same whether he buys the tickets himself or finds them on the ground.

My emphasis.

PDF of the 932-page bill here and PDF of the proposed allowance allocation here.

It’s a corporate welfare scheme, people, nothing more high-minded than that.  And our great-grandchildren will be paying for it.