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Partisan Bickering Puts Climate Bill in Jeopardy

CongressA key U.S. Senate panel, controlled by Democrats, will begin debating a climate change bill this week despite a planned boycott by minority Republicans who demand more study of the issue, including economic costs on utilities, factories and oil refineries, reports Reuters.

Senator Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who chairs the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, wants to have a bill approved before the international summit on global warming meets in Copenhagen in December, reports Reuters.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Boxer and Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, would place a cap on carbon emissions from power plants, factories and other large sources of greenhouse-gas emissions and create a market for companies to buy and sell a limited number of pollution credits.

Most Republicans and some Democrats from coal-producing and manufacturing states are concerned that the bill would raise energy costs for businesses and consumers and harm the economy, reports Bloomberg News.

Boxer said she retained the right to advance the 959-page bill without Republicans, reports the New York Times. A group of Senate GOP committee leaders said they were “deeply troubled” by Boxer’s suggestion that she would move ahead with the climate bill debate without trying to work with the Republicans, according to the newspaper.

Republicans want more analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the economic impact of legislation that would require utilities, factories and oil refineries to cut their carbon emissions 20 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels, reports Reuters.

A statement released in October by Boxer indicates that the EPA’s economic analysis finds no significant increase in cost to American families compared to the Waxman-Markey legislation.

In an attempt to address Republican concerns, Boxer told reporters that the EPA could come before the committee to answer technical questions about the bill, and she would extend a deadline for Republicans to notify her of amendments to the bill, reports Reuters.

Adding to the challenge, Democratic Senator John Kerry is holding talks with Republicans and moderate Democrats that could lead to a different measure presented to the full Senate next year, including incentives for expanding the U.S. nuclear power industry and offshore oil drilling, reports Reuters.

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2 thoughts on “Partisan Bickering Puts Climate Bill in Jeopardy

  1. From my vantage point, support for cap-and-trade has evaporated. Daily I read editorials, comments and letters-to-the-editor from all over the nation. When the House passed the cap-and-trade bill it was maybe 2-to-1 against cap-and-trade, opinion now is off the charts against it. This agrees with what I’ve read in the polls: ‘attempting’ to slow climate change is a low priority among Americans.

    Frankly, I don’t see Americans supporting cap-and-trade or any CO2 regulation until we have our own ‘Climate Truth Commission.’ …and no longer rely upon the climate opinions of the United Nations. The UN is a biased political organization whose climate forecasts haven’t proven prescient. The United States needs our own objective, transparent climate commission to think-through global warming.

    — Robert Moen, http://www.energyplanUSA

  2. “In an attempt to address Republican concerns, Boxer told reporters that the EPA could come before the committee to answer technical questions about the bill, and she would extend a deadline for Republicans to notify her of amendments to the bill, reports Reuters.”

    The EPA completed its analysis already! Republicans just want to scare and delay. The ranking Republican on the EPW committee is an open climate change denier, which is frankly a ridiculous position to hold at this point and indicitive of a lack of vision and even a lack of ability to come to terms with present day reality.

    As for Robert Moen’s comment, we always ask for “leadership” from our politicians. That means educating the American public on why this issue is critical and *needs* to be addressed. It does NOT mean treating legislation as a popularity contest. So, Robert, I would ask you this: do you want leadership from our government, or are you just looking for a popularity contest?

    By the way, a “Climate Truth Comission” is an incredible waste of time. The EPA has conducted its studies, and the academic instutions in the US (and globally) have produced *numerous* studies indicating that human-made climate change is real, it is happening, and the consequences of leaving it unchecked are very bad. The scientific consensus on the reality of human-made climate change is overwhelming. Would you like to hold a “Truth Comission” on the existence of gravity? That would be about equally productive.

    Of course Robert, you are right about one thing: the UN climate change predictions haven’t been accurate. Scientists are now realizing that the UN’s previous predictions actually UNDERESTIMATED the rate of existing and future consequences to climate change.

    Want more information about the consequences of climate change that we have *already* locked ourselves into? See this summary: http://www.sayitgreen.com/2009/09/our-plea-to-you.html

    Andy

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