The Politics of Climate Change: It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over
There’s been a lot of talk about whether federal climate change legislation is dead for this session. Bradford Plummer at the New Republic makes a pretty good case that the legislation is still alive and kicking:
That said, there don’t seem to be any signs that Democrats are planning to relent just yet. A few days ago, Ben Geman of The Hill reported that most of the caucus wants to move on a climate bill, and that includes coal-staters like Arlen Specter. . . .. And the White House insists it won’t stand for “slicing and dicing.” They want the full cap.
Granted, just because Democrats are moving ahead doesn’t mean they have the votes. And if Landrieu and Nelson are opposed, they’ll need some Republican support. But optimists should note that Lindsey Graham is still huddling with John Kerry and Joe Lieberman on a “tripartisan” climate bill. Graham keeps getting abused by the South Carolina GOP, but he’s calling for a “meaningful control” on pollution. Also, Susan Collins is co-sponsoring a cap-and-dividend bill—read about the pros and cons of that approach here. . . . . (And for those who love tea leaves, two more Republicans, Richard Lugar and Lisa Murkowski, were saying positive things about the Copenhagen accord.)
As Plummer points out, an important indicator will be the January 20 vote on a proposal to strip EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. It’s hard to see why any legislator who is serious about climate change would vote for that proposal.
To paraphrase a well-known saying, the opera isn’t over until the overweight person vocalizes.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more