Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What happened to climate change legislation?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Now you see it, now you don't. What the hell happened to the climate change legislation our representatives promised us in exchange for our support? And, when will politicians stop playing politics with our planet?

What's really weird to me are all of the Republicans in Washington who promoted cap-and-trade legislation in 2008 but who don't seem to support any climate legislation now. They happily accepted environmentalists' votes and campaign contributions then, seemingly, turned their back on them. In fact, this whole cap and trade idea was their idea.

Though, the same could be said for the Obama administration where conversations about environmentalism, voter expectations and comprehensive climate legislation are concerned.

Then, of course, there's Republican S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham who got his panties in a wad about the legislative calendar and pulled his support from the climate legislation he helped draft.

Of course, not everyone is upset. This may explain why, since the legislation's death knell officially sounded late last week, we haven't heard too much about it in the news. Here's a look behind the scenes:

“The reality is that the base didn’t have a lot at stake in the climate bill,” said Chamberlain.

“After the BP disaster, all we’ve heard from our members, the No. 1 issue is climate change and offshore oil drilling and oil,” he said. “But we polled our members about whether we should be fighting for the bill and it wasn’t even close. The answer was no.”

Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a liberal environmental advocacy group, said the Kerry-Lieberman bill was full of gifts to the oil, coal and nuclear industries.

“The way they were going to give away free emission permits instead of set up an auction system, which [President] Obama had campaigned on,” said O’Donnell. “That was massive giveaway.”

Kerry and Lieberman had also agreed to expand offshore oil and natural-gas drilling before the BP spill made such a concession politically unpalatable.

“They weren’t going to step up to big oil; they were in lockstep with big oil until the disaster hit,” O’Donnell said.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, criticized the Kerry-Lieberman as a policy cave-in to energy companies. He urged Senate Democrats to pass a strong bill regulating offshore drilling.

"Given that the energy bill was already a big capitulation to polluters, the failure to move it will not exacerbate the enthusiasm gap that was already there due to it's underlying lameness,” Green said. “If Democrats don't pass a gold-standard bill cracking down on polluters after the BP disaster, that's plain political malpractice.”

“The core reason I don't believe the death of the climate bill will dampen turnout in the fall is because no one outside of the enviro groups was ever invested in the bill in the first place, because it was a corporate bill,” said Ilyse Hogue, director of political advocacy and communications for MoveOn.org, a liberal grassroots advocacy group.

“And the enviros will turn out anyway,” she added.

Read the rest of this post, by Alexander Bolton at The Hill, here.

Further reading: Did Obama kill the climate bill?Mother Jones

The Young Turks weigh in, "It never had a chance."

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