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Democrats surrendering on climate change? [updated]

Update, 2:45 p.m.: Reid, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and White House energy chief Carol Browner just finished speaking at the Capitol. They all repeatedly insisted that they weren’t giving up on a comprehensive climate bill. Quite the opposite, they said. But through all the protesting-too-much, it sure sounded like they were surrendering, for now. They said that they just don’t have the votes. They didn’t give much hope that anyone could be swayed. And, tellingly, Reid somberly thanked everyone for their effort. Environment fail.


It looks more and more like President Obama won’t be able to make the oceans stop rising this year. He and Senate Democrats have kicked climate legislation down the road since the beginning of 2009. And now Democratic aides are telling The Hill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t bring a climate bill to the floor next week as planned. Instead, he’ll introduce legislation with provisions relating to the oil spill and a few other, non-controversial energy proposals, pass that before August and then, perhaps, take up a more ambitious bill in the fall -- just before midterm elections, when little is likely to pass. Reid will apparently speak on this around 2:00 p.m. today.

Many senators insist that there simply isn’t enough time left in the legislative calendar to pass a big energy bill, particularly one that with a meaningful climate section. That has a morsel of truth in it -- it would be a lift. But the underlying problem that has dogged this debate over the last year and a half is that some key Republican and Democratic senators are scared of voting for the most efficient policy available -- placing a price on carbon -- even if the policy were designed so that most Americans and, for that matter, the Treasury, wouldn’t lose a dime in the process. Republicans who should know better have found it politically useful to attack -- hypocritically -- this market-based solution, a scheme their own party embraced in the early 1990s. Democrats haven’t stood up well to the attacks, especially after they watered the policy down with giveaways to favored constituencies. Given the low priority they attached to climate legislation, the president and other Democratic leaders encouraged others to treat it as expendable this year.

If the Senate continues to do nothing, as seems ever more likely, they won’t like the result. Without a real climate bill, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin to regulate carbon emissions using its existing authorities under the Clean Air Act beginning next January. That’s fine for some environmentalists -- the government will begin to battle greenhouse emissions seriously. But between the regulatory uncertainty, the bureaucratic hassle and the legal wrangling it will encourage, the EPA approach will almost certainly hurt a lot more.

By Stephen Stromberg  | July 22, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: Where will BP's photoshopped clean-up images stop?


"even if the policy were designed so that most Americans -- and, for that matter, the Treasury -- wouldn’t lose a dime in the process".

How dumb do you think the American public is? Obviously very dumb as the cap and tax would be the largest tax increase in our Nation's history. That would be followed by selling out the Nation to an international cap and tax scheme from Copenhagen.

We have dodged a bullet on this. The new Congress will cut off funding for the EPA and the rest of the damage done by this Administration can be sorted out after we have a new President in 2012.

When the taxpayer free money is cut off from the green initiative it will turn brown and excrete methane.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | July 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

There is no logic in the theory that a large tax placed on American businesses won't effect the American people.

With any luck, the Post will see fit to fire you, Ezra Klein and the rest of the Global Warming Propaganda team.

Then it could get back to reporting news from Washington, instead of being a shill for the Climate Change movement.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | July 22, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

How many Democratic senators does it take to pass an energy bill? Guess we'll never know. If you believe the analyses, and I do, then most of the proposed climate legislation would 1) create jobs, 2) reduce dependence on foreign oil and 3) improve the environment. Even if you don't believe that climate change is a problem, certainly you have to be for more jobs and less reliance on Saudi Arabia for our energy, right? Was this really that hard a sell?

Posted by: tdg3 | July 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

How many Democratic senators does it take to pass an energy bill? Guess we'll never know. If you believe the analyses, and I do, then most of the proposed climate legislation would 1) create jobs, 2) reduce dependence on foreign oil and 3) improve the environment. Even if you don't believe that climate change is a problem, certainly you have to be for more jobs and less reliance on Saudi Arabia for our energy, right? Was this really that hard a sell?

Posted by: tdg3 | July 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"How many Democratic senators does it take to pass an energy bill? Guess we'll never know..."

Actually you will know. The article clearly states they will try to pass an energy bill.

What you mean of course is a "global warming bill", not an energy bill. No, they are not the same thing, as Congress is about to demonstrate.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | July 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Are you counting blue dogs in the democratic column?

Posted by: knjincvc | July 22, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Funny how deregulation of business, tax cuts for big businesses, and corporate subsidies which far outweigh all aid to the poor in the federal budget have not motivated big business to create jobs though conservatives have sworn all along that they would. What deregulation and laissez-faire economic policies have gotten us are record high unemployment and civilization-threatening ecological degradation.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | July 22, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

First the President is accused of doing too much too fast, now you wonder why he slowed down?

One reason they slowed down on climate change is because the GOP started threatening Lindsey Graham who was working with the White House on climate change.

I suppose we shouldn't expect a journalist to remember, but didn't the GOP threaten to expel Lindsey Graham from certain committes if Lindsey didn't stop working over at the White House.

Obviously, Lindsey Graham looking good, make the other Republicans who are doing a darn thing for this country, look bad.

Posted by: lindalovejones | July 22, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"the EPA approach will almost certainly hurt a lot more"

Well there's your answer.
Isn't it the GOP's goal to put a hurting on America every chance they get?

Whether Republicans "intend" to hurt America, they do anyway.

As they say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

But the real answer is, the GOP doesn't give a hoot about hurting America so long as it also hurts the POTUS.

That, my friends, is what's known as treason -- sabotaging American advancement.

Posted by: lindalovejones | July 22, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse


So you are saying its Republicans hurting America, because the Democratic controlled EPA is going to hurt America, instead of the Democratic Climate Bill hurting America?

I think the real answer is you don't know a hoot about logic.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | July 22, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

But of course they are surrendering now that this Al Gore "Gorebal Warming" is being shown up for the fraud that it is! It is all about control of the people and putting power in the hands of Democrats who would PIMP their mothers for a few pieces of political silver!

Posted by: TexRancher | July 23, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

As a matter of curiosity, is it likely that the Washington Post or any other media outlet will report on how much Al Bore will personally profit from cap and trade legislation? Will his stake in carbon exchange mechanisms ever be revealed? How about Obama's stake in the Chicago-based exchange? The Daleys? Blore has already scored a $500,000,000 loan from the U.S. taxpayers to build an electric car factory in Finland. How that helps America is yet to be explained. The car will sell to the average American for only $89,000, stripped.

Posted by: sailhardy | July 23, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse


Its against WaPo rules to comment on how many billions of dollars Al Gore has made off the AGW scam, or how he's being investigated as a crazed sex poodle in 3 separate attacks on women.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | July 23, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

What a tangled Web we weave, when we try to Deceive.

For the current GOP the question is always; how can I pass Oil, Coal, and Gas Pollution and Poisons onto the Public without making the Polluters pay for it?

How…How…How….Eureka…I’ll call it an Evil Energy Tax so Pollution can continue unabated to be paid for by the Public while I take the Profits. An Evil Tax is much worse, much for Fearful than a little Poison or CO2 that you cannot see.... High Five…..Fist Pump….Flying Chest Bump!!!

“Many Republicans would rather rail against a "national energy tax" than acknowledge the need to enlist market forces to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and coal;”

Can President Obama forge a compromise on an energy bill?

God would not want man to profit on Poisoning Children and Wildlife, yet that is exactly what Coal, Oil, Gas and Livestock Industries are doing: Hydraulic Fracturing Pumps Poisons directly into your Groundwater; Coal Strip-mining Poisons local Communities; Livestock Manure Poisons local Water basins. Oil... The Truth Hurts to those who want to kill and threaten American workers and Wildlife, Poison Fresh Water supplies and delay USA clean energy Jobs and Manufacturing.

Posted by: Airborne82 | July 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

NOAA Satellite and Information Service:

“A large body of evidence supports the conclusion that human activity is the primary driver of recent warming. This evidence has accumulated over several decades, and from hundreds of studies.”

NOAA: June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record

July 15, 2010 “Last month’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the warmest June on record and the warmest on record averaged for any April-June and January-June periods, according to NOAA. The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.”

“higher rates would be more than offset by emission allowance allocations to ratepayers”

Duke Energy CEO Rogers To Reid: Utility Climate Bill Is A Winner

“Climate legislation that imposes a greenhouse gas emissions cap first on electric utilities would lower ratepayers’ monthly bills and boost the nation’s gross domestic product by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario with no utility cap, Duke Energy Chairman, President and CEO James Rogers said in a Wednesday letter to Senate Majority Leader” “while a cap on utility emissions would increase electricity rates by making fossil fuels more expensive, the higher rates would be more than offset by emission allowance allocations to ratepayers and energy efficiency improvements mandated by the bill that would reduce electricity demand.”

Posted by: Airborne82 | July 23, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The argument “leads to higher energy costs” and “evil energy tax” is like an argument to keep your Children uneducated because higher education costs more; or keep your country weak because you refuse to invest in making it stronger, smarter and more efficient.; or offshore manufacturing and keep people unemployed because you don’t want to make an investment in Clean energy jobs and manufacturing.

While the GOP is Blocking Clean Energy, National Security and Jobs Legislation here is what China is doing:

World Nuclear Association: 23 Nuclear Reactors under construction In China:

* Mainland China has 11 nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, 23 under construction, and more about to start construction soon.
* Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a tenfold increase in nuclear capacity to 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
* China is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle.”

China is pulling ahead in worldwide race for high-speed rail transportation:

“Last year (2009), China surpassed the United States as the world's largest automaker. The country is aggressively making jets to compete with Boeing and Airbus. And in recent years, with little outside notice, China made another great leap forward in transportation: It now leads the world in high-speed rail.”

In 2009 China invested $100 Billion into High speed rail compared to US stimulus investment of $8 Billion. China is investing $120 Billion in High speed rail for 2010. This is where the Jobs will be if the USA remains Slaves to status quo Oil and Coal and don’t compete for the Jobs and Industries America needs most.

Posted by: Airborne82 | July 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Don't try to kid a kidder. They are not surrendering. They are reloading................

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | July 23, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

to ALL,

inasmuch as "manmade global warming"/"man-caused climate change" is AT BEST a truly DUBIOUS THEORY, not a single dime of taxpayers money should be spent on that theory UNTIL/UNLESS there is ACTUAL PROOF that such a problem exists.

at this time, NO such INDEPENDENT PROOF exists, NOR is there any likelihood that such PROOF can be illustrated.

to quote one climatologist from The University of Edinburgh:

"Manmade global warming MAY exist BUT at this time it is UNPROVEN & may be UNPROVABLE, IF such an actual situation exists at all in the real world. Many theories can be put forward, on a plenthora of subjects, BUT the TRUTH may have little or nothing to do with the promulgation of any such theory".

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | July 25, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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