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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Security Act’

This week’s Senate deliberations on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Bill, made for a fascinating display of high-level politics psychology, all viewable on YouTube:

Yet another display of kindergarten squabble, this time from the Senate Republican Minority – with a few exceptions – How else would you call the ridiculous request of subjecting colleagues to a whole day of reading of a 500 page document?

Per Reuters, ‘Environmental groups were jubilant, even as the bill was defeated . “Today’s vote sets the stage for a new president and Congress to enact strong legislation that will more effectively build a clean energy economy and prevent the worst consequences of global warming,” a coalition of green groups, including Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

I am not sure I can share such enthusiasm. That is placing a lot of hope in our new president, and in the Congress. It will require new anti-lobbying legislation, to minimize the power of the special fossil fuel interests, over our senators and congressmen. Also, climate change does not respond well to our human attempts at bargaining for more time. Every day counts, at this point.

Again, I ask myself the question of why? Why, would otherwise, well meaning, intelligent people engage in such destructive acts as denying their constituents the chance of a healthy place to live? All I can think of, is that these climate denying senators are the victim of terrible misinformation, on the part of lobbyists, and the Bush administration. They obviously do not understand the realities of climate science and economics. They may also be seduced into cheap populism, the same way Hillary Clinton tried to rally popular support with her gas tax holiday proposal. All in all, not a pretty picture, and one that raises issues of political ethics.

The solution, besides pushing for more Democratic representation in both houses? Maybe introducing climate change on the agendas of both Senate and House Ethics Committees? And asking that the next rounds of climate debates be preceded by introductory sessions on climate ethics.

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Barbara Boxer, one of the four senators to sponsor the Climate Security Act, touts it as:

the world’s most far-reaching program to fight global warming, instituting an economy-wide cap on emissions that would cut greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2020 and slash emissions by nearly 70% by 2050. In addition to fighting global warming, our bill will provide cleaner air, greater energy efficiency, relief for consumers, and the alternative energy choices that American families deserve — significantly reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Opposing senators, such as vocal climate denier James Inhofe, see it as a threat to the welfare of the American people:

Any action has to provide real protections for the American economy and jobs, and we must protect the American families. Any action should not raise the cost of gasoline or energy to American families, particularly the low-income and elderly who are most susceptible to energy costs.

For an objective view, I turned to a recent analysis from NRDC and The International Resources Group. According to that report, the Lieberman-Warner Bill will greatly:

  • reduce our oil consumption and imports
  • increase our clean energy production, and electricity from renewables,
  • increase the number of fuel-efficient vehicles
  • increase our energy efficiency
  • all at a minimal cost to our energy system, less than one half of one percent
  • benefit companies that lead the transition to clean and efficient technologies
  • contribute to the creation of jobs, manufacturing opportunities, and spark innovation
I have always trusted NRDC on all green matters. This one is no exception.

 

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