Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Glimmerings of Hope for U.S. Climate Change Action

Serious action to contend with climate change has been seriously lacking in the U.S. for the last six years, squelched by the jackbooted dominance of the Bush administration and a compliant, Republican majority Congress. The first stirrings of action are appearing in the Congressional chambers, as David Roberts describes in this article,
Going for Broke on Climate Change, but the pace and magnitude of this movement may not be as dramatic as befits the planetary challenge.

As Roberts says:
All the buzz has, for the first time in decades, awakened greens to the possibility of fundamental change. But they should remember that the interests of the planet and the interests of the new congressional leadership are not entirely in alignment. Right now, the overriding political objective for Pelosi and Reid is to position the party favorably for the 2008 elections. That means Getting Things Done, passing a bill to show that they, unlike their Republican predecessors, take global warming seriously.

But a climate-change bill that can pass through today's Congress—much less avoid a Bush veto—will inevitably be feeble. Worse, it could lock the U.S. into a slow, bureaucratic response and dampen public pressure to act.

The most promising bill, the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, introduced by Vermont's redoubtable Senator, Bernie Sanders, also has the most teeth. This bill proposes measures to reduce global warming pollutants by 80 percent by 2050.

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