Thursday, September 17, 2009

Climate Bill Drifts Into a Potomac Fog

Pretty much what we were getting at yesterday in "What's REALLY Behind Senator Reid's Delay on the Climate Bill?".

"Climate change is the most critical problem facing humanity"
-Ban Ki Moon

Nah, that would be re-election, Mr. Secretary-General.
From ClimateWire via the NYT:
A day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hinted that climate legislation might be postponed until 2010, some analysts wondered whether that actually could mean 2011.

Or perhaps that it wouldn't be considered in the Senate at all.

With congressional midterm elections looming next year, they say the timetable is limited for politicians to act on a major bill before partisan rancor dominates Capitol Hill. That is raising speculation that lawmakers and the Obama administration may go for a "Plan B" next year that involves passage of a general energy bill without its most complex climate elements.

"The most likely scenario is that we get a more climate-friendly version of the 2005 and 2007 energy bills," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. "It would be a half-loaf approach without cap and trade."

And the further Congress delays into election season, the more likely it is that it may leave emissions limits entirely to U.S. EPA, which is already unleashing climate regulations in the absence of legislation.

"If EPA regulation gets too far down the road, then Congress will abdicate the space on policy on ... greenhouse gas regulations," said Jim Connaughton, the former lead White House environmental adviser to President George W. Bush. Connaughton now works at Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Inc. "Congress will most often just defer to the regulatory agency and duck the tough political choices.">>>MORE
As we've said before, soon after they go to Congress, politicians realize that the greatest service they can perform is to get re-elected.