Breakthrough Senate climate partnership: Graham (R-SC) and Kerry (D-MA) join forces and assert they are “convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.”

Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation) is the stunning banner headline from a must-read op-ed in today’s NY Times by two unlikely legislative partners — Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina, an ally of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and John Kerry, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, lead author of the recently introduced Kerry-Boxer bill aka the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.”

The two Senators have a powerful message to the naysayers — and the status quo media which has prematurely written the obituary for both domestic and international climate action:

The message to those who have stalled for years is clear: killing a Senate bill is not success….

We are confident that a legitimate bipartisan effort can put America back in the lead again and can empower our negotiators to sit down at the table in Copenhagen in December and insist that the rest of the world join us in producing a new international agreement on global warming. That way, we will pass on to future generations a strong economy, a clean environment and an energy-independent nation.

The odds of a Senate climate bill just jumped through the roof. Now the Senate needs to get off its butt and get this done.

If the deal they describe can be done, and I’m confident it can be, that would probably mean at least four GOP votes in the Senate — Graham, McCain, and Maine’s Snowe and Collins.  But I suspect this deal brings within reach other gettable “Rs,” like Lugar of Indiana and Voinovich of Ohio and maybe even Lisa “the fiddler” Murkowski (R-AK), if she understands, as Graham and Kerry do, that the best way to avoid the problems inherent in EPA regulation is to pass this bill:

Failure to act comes with another cost. If Congress does not pass legislation dealing with climate change, the administration will use the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new regulations. Imposed regulations are likely to be tougher and they certainly will not include the job protections and investment incentives we are proposing.

The message to those who have stalled for years is clear: killing a Senate bill is not success; indeed, given the threat of agency regulation, those who have been content to make the legislative process grind to a halt would later come running to Congress in a panic to secure the kinds of incentives and investments we can pass today. Industry needs the certainty that comes with Congressional action.

Achieving that certainty is a key reason so many major businesses are fleeing the every-shrinking Chamber of Commerce.

If the bill can get 5 to 7 Rs then it should also be able to get virtually all of the Ds, hopefully at least 57, and maybe more for a cloture vote to stop the inevitable, immoral filibuster from the blinkered conservatives.  And it would be terrific if this bill were not just genuinely bipartisan, but could actually get, say, 62 or more votes for cloture and close to that for the actual bill.

I have described elements of the deal recently — see Lindsay Graham (R-SC): “If you had a bill that would allow for responsible offshore drilling, a robust nuclear power title, I think you could get some Republican votes for a cap-and-trade system.” Having heard Kerry speak directly about the bill and his negotiations, seeing his passion to make this happen and his commitment to preserving a livable climate, I expect the final bill will have no deal-breakers for progressives.  Quite the reverse.  This is a deal-maker.

Here are more excerpts from this remarkable op-ed:

CONVENTIONAL wisdom suggests that the prospect of Congress passing a comprehensive climate change bill soon is rapidly approaching zero. The divisions in our country on how to deal with climate change are deep….

However, we refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change. We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.

Our partnership represents a fresh attempt to find consensus that adheres to our core principles and leads to both a climate change solution and energy independence. It begins now, not months from now “” with a road to 60 votes in the Senate.

It’s true that we come from different parts of the country and represent different constituencies and that we supported different presidential candidates in 2008. We even have different accents. But we speak with one voice in saying that the best way to make America stronger is to work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world.

This process requires honest give-and-take and genuine bipartisanship. In that spirit, we have come together to put forward proposals that address legitimate concerns among Democrats and Republicans and the other constituencies with stakes in this legislation. We’re looking for a new beginning, informed by the work of our colleagues and legislation that is already before Congress.

First, we agree that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security. That is why we are advocating aggressive reductions in our emissions of the carbon gases that cause climate change. We will minimize the impact on major emitters through a market-based system that will provide both flexibility and time for big polluters to come into compliance without hindering global competitiveness or driving more jobs overseas.

Second, while we invest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, we must also take advantage of nuclear power, our single largest contributor of emissions-free power. Nuclear power needs to be a core component of electricity generation if we are to meet our emission reduction targets. We need to jettison cumbersome regulations that have stalled the construction of nuclear plants in favor of a streamlined permit system that maintains vigorous safeguards while allowing utilities to secure financing for more plants. We must also do more to encourage serious investment in research and development to find solutions to our nuclear waste problem.

While I wouldn’t be thrilled with all conceivable provisions a nuclear title might have, the overwhelming majority are unlikely to have a significant impact or even cost the taxpayers much money, as long as nuclear power plants remain so damn expensive (see “Nuclear Bombshell: $26 Billion cost “” $10,800 per kilowatt! “” killed Ontario nuclear bid“).

Third, climate change legislation is an opportunity to get serious about breaking our dependence on foreign oil. For too long, we have ignored potential energy sources off our coasts and underground. Even as we increase renewable electricity generation, we must recognize that for the foreseeable future we will continue to burn fossil fuels. To meet our environmental goals, we must do this as cleanly as possible. The United States should aim to become the Saudi Arabia of clean coal. For this reason, we need to provide new financial incentives for companies that develop carbon capture and sequestration technology.

In addition, we are committed to seeking compromise on additional onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration “” work that was started by a bipartisan group in the Senate last Congress. Any exploration must be conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner and protect the rights and interests of our coastal states.

Again, as I’ve now been quoted in the media pointing out, oil prices are going to soar in the coming years, likely blowing past $100 a barrel in Obama’s first term “” and perhaps past $150 a barrel in what will hopefully be his second term (see “Deutsche Bank: Oil to hit $175 a barrel by 2016).”  When that happens, Dems are not going to be able to resist the demand for opening more area to drilling anyway “” so they might as well get a climate deal in return now.

Fourth, we cannot sacrifice another job to competitors overseas. China and India are among the many countries investing heavily in clean-energy technologies that will produce millions of jobs. There is no reason we should surrender our marketplace to countries that do not accept environmental standards. For this reason, we should consider a border tax on items produced in countries that avoid these standards. This is consistent with our obligations under the World Trade Organization and creates strong incentives for other countries to adopt tough environmental protections.

Finally, we will develop a mechanism to protect businesses “” and ultimately consumers “” from increases in energy prices. The central element is the establishment of a floor and a ceiling for the cost of emission allowances. This will also safeguard important industries while they make the investments necessary to join the clean-energy era. We recognize there will be short-term transition costs associated with any climate change legislation, costs that can be eased. But we also believe strongly that the long-term gain will be enormous.

Even climate change skeptics should recognize that reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing our energy efficiency strengthens our national security. Both of us served in the military. We know that sending nearly $800 million a day to sometimes-hostile oil-producing countries threatens our security. In the same way, many scientists warn that failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will lead to global instability and poverty that could put our nation at risk.

One final note:  Ideally a bill would pass the Senate before the end of Copenhagen — and I urge all parties involved to work hard toward that — but logistically it may prove difficult.  This bipartisan deal could and should, however, be cemented in November, and that alone could, as Graham and Kerry conclude, “empower our negotiators to sit down at the table in Copenhagen in December and insist that the rest of the world join us in producing a new international agreement on global warming.”

Kudos to Graham and Kerry for reaching across the aisle on this vital, yet divisive issue.

32 Responses to Breakthrough Senate climate partnership: Graham (R-SC) and Kerry (D-MA) join forces and assert they are “convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.”

  1. ZS says:

    Even the possibility that there might be any Republican support for climate legislation is frankly astonishing. Kudos to Lindsey Graham for emulating the example of his friend John McCain in reaching across the aisle for climate legislation.

    As you noted, the focus on nuclear is misguided but hopefully will also be unnecessary. “Clean coal” is a waste of time and money, but as long as it’s presented as one of many options, instead of the option, I suppose it might be included to appease those who have no idea what they’re talking about.

    The major problem: I’m control+F’ing the Op-Ed, and I don’t see any occurrence of the words “efficient” or “efficiency”. As has been noted here and elsewhere many times, energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to meet electricity demand, and it’s also one of the most promising emerging clean energy sectors for job creation. I can understand the argument that since the Waxman-Markey proposal includes strong language on efficiency, it would be combined into the Senate bill during reconciliation. But energy efficiency is so important, so fundamental to our hopes to meet the GHG emission reductions that we must accomplish – it should be front and center, even in an op-ed.

  2. Tim R. says:

    As I wrote back in December, we don’t have to settle for a bad bill because EPA has the authority to put the hurt on if R’s choose to go with inaction. People are realizing that now. Too bad Obama and Jackson didn’t push that angle from the start. The EPA has instead been extremely cautious on the endangerment finding and subsequent Clean Air Act proposed regulation when real leadership was called for.

    Even more unfortunately though, Obama has ceded international leadership on climate to a handful of Senate Republicans. And now they are dragging the world climate agenda down to their level. So far the Obama plan for Copenhagen is that each country writes down what has already become domestic law in there own countries, and that retrospective list of actions and targets replaces the hard, prospective enforceable targets of Kyoto. The Obama plan takes us even further from a science driven process.

    Most Americans, even climate activists, seem oblivious to our incredibly poor showing in Bangkok last week. The Obama vision for an international plan should be the subject of harsh criticism on climate blogs everywhere. And overseas it is. Can we Amerians call out our allies when they are so far from where they need to be?

  3. There will be those who reject the focus on issues from nuclear power to carbon capture, but I for one think this is a very important step forward for both the United States and the world!

  4. ken levenson says:

    This is wonderful.

    We should look right by the nods to nuclear and carbon capture – they are clearly bribes that must be paid. By paying off the corrupt border guards of the status quo, this bill will final get us out of the starting gate…and the fight can be joined.

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    Hundreds of billions of dollars in handouts to the nuclear, coal and oil industries.

    I guess that squandering a trillion dollars or so of taxpayer money on enriching the people who are causing the problem is just the price we have to pay for legislation whose goals don’t come anywhere near reducing emissions enough, and fast enough, to avoid the worst consequences of anthropogenic global warming.

    Sorry, but when John Kerry starts talking about making the USA the “Saudi Arabia of clean coal” and gutting the already inadequate safety standards for nuclear power plants because they are “cumbersome” to the industry, I want to vomit.

    We’re being taken.

    EPA regulation is looking better and better all the time.

    [JR: You folks really don’t get it. EPA regs can’t deliver a global climate deal, won’t shut don’t existing coal plants, wouldn’t survive the next Republican President, and — if the climate bill goes down as you seem to want (but won’t happen now), Congress itself would probably limit or strip the authority.

    Kerry is one of our great climate and clean energy champions, like Waxman and Markey and Clinton and Obama. If you think there are political leaders out there who can deliver a substantially better deal, please, please tell me who they are.]

  6. C.C. says:

    Don’t be silly. Obama is a coal-state Democrat from Illinois who championed “clean coal” on behalf of his first big supporter, Exelon, back in 2007:

    “At the same time, there are also bills in congress that would cap CO2 emissions and make coal-to-liquid technologies instantly obsolete. But there’s not a lot of money behind the carbon neutral lobby, while Coal has millions to spend on congress.”

    Obama has also lent his support to Canadian tar sand import projects – his State Department is facing a lawsuit regarding their granting of a tar sand import pipeline to the U.S., recently signed off on by Hillary Clinton. Similarly, Biden just visited Iraq and while there, pressured the Iraqis to sign their ‘hydrocarbon law’, complete with long-term leases and PSAs for western oil corporations.

    So far, the DOE is following suit by giving billions to coal research, and very little to wind and solar – a position also taken by Wall Street financiers invested in coal, rail and utilities as well as by global oil futures traders (based largely in London and New York).

    The sad fact of the matter is that this proposed ‘climate bill’ may seem encouraging, in fact it will do little to alleviate the problem. A real bill would drop cap-and-trade in favor of solar and wind feed-in tariffs and a binding renewable energy generation target, as well as a phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels (i.e. the $18 billion Congressional loan guarantee for a pipeline to ship Alaskan natural gas to Alberta’s tar sand syncrude facilities) and financial incentives for investors to move away from fossil fuel-powered utilities.

    The bill’s authors also claim that there is a “free market” in energy – but everyone knows that the international oil business is dominated by cartels and their legions of oil futures traders – energy is all about national security, and there’s no free market in that, is there?

    What are needed are RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS – go ahead, say it. Not ‘clean energy’ or ‘freedom from imported oil’ – because those phrases can be distorted to include polluting coal and oil shale and tar sands – but rather, renewable energy – sunlight, wind, photosynthesis, and energy conversion and storage technology – and efficient devices that maximize every drop of electrical juice, and insulated homes that can be quickly heated or cooled…

    Another way to say it is the ELIMINATION OF FOSSIL FUEL COMBUSTION, which requires replacement energy sources – but lucky us, we have the sun.

    It’s going to require a massive infrastructure transition, but clean coal will not be involved – that’s just greenwashing for the most polluting industry on the planet. What will be involved are solar, wind, energy storage technology, algal biofuels and a lot of advanced chemistry and engineering. Profits galore, indeed.

    In other words, even if we ran out of fossil fuels tomorrow, we’d quickly be able to cobble together a renewable-energy based economy. That should give everyone some real hope – because unlike a “clean-coal” powered economy, a solar-powered economy is technically feasible – unlike with coal CCS, there are many real-world demonstrations.

    [JR: Amazing. Some folks just can’t take yes for an answer. Obama is a “coal state Democrat” who has ALREADY done more to boost clean energy and put in place standards and regulations to reduce GHGs then every previous president combined! This bill would complete the transition to low-carbon energy.]

  7. ken levenson says:


    Make no mistake we are trapped in the asylum right now – and EPA regulations ain’t gonna get us out of it. We need to payoff the sadistic guards and make a prison break….only then is so much more possible. So hold your nose and vomit.


    This bill is the equivalent of our invasion of North Africa in WWII. Of limited strategic value in big ways, but an essential first step. Once we have this made law it is just the start of much fiercer action.

    Passing this bill is the start of the fight (finally!) not the end….

  8. Pierre Champagne says:

    If you are interested in a (potential) breakthrough for the environment, check out

    Better Than Cap-and-Trade: A Cap-and-Restructure Approach for Global Warming and the Environment

    Just making grounds on greenhouse gases is not going to be enough.

    Tags: Cap-and-Trade Alternative, Global Warming, Carbon Emissions, Renewable Energy, Environment

  9. Mike#22 says:

    On nuclear, the generation III plants are supposed to be orders of magnitude safer. Suppose we did fund 50 reactors as direct refits of existing coal plants (and make no mistake, at the very high cost of the new builds, the American taxpayer will be footing the bill one way or the other). Some savings because all the transmission, cooling, etc is in place already. Somehwere in the ball park of twenty to fourty billion a year for the next twenty years; this is about 0.3% of US GDP.

    This would be a very small price to pay to get a climate bill through, and I say that as a long time card carrying anti-nuke. Nukes are scary, but Global Warming is a million times scarier.

  10. dhogaza says:

    I’m mostly with Joe on this, some people just can’t be satisfied with solid progress, apparently.

    “This bill would complete the transition to low-carbon energy.” – I think this is a bit over-the-top, though.

    But get us on track, and we’ll get there. The bill’s got flaws but *every* bill that passes both houses has flaws, regardless of the subject being addressed. This isn’t going to change just because Obama’s president or because there are 60 dems in the Senate.

    Compare what’s happening to what has happened in the past, rather than to what might happen in a perfect world. We don’t live in a perfect world.

  11. Gail says:

    My favorite part is this: “…insist that the rest of the world join us…”

    The USA must take the lead and make others follow because we can’t protect ourselves without global cooperation:

    On a happier note, George Soros is going to invest $1B in clean energy! Now that’s patriotic!!

  12. Tim says:

    Kerry, together with former Senator Hagel, should also lean on Sens. Warner & McCain on the national security case for strong action on climate change. The national security argument could be a deal closer on the domestic side.

  13. Sasparilla says:

    Fantastic news, just fantastic! While I’d rather have some parts left out, I’ll take them if it’ll get a few of the few middle of the road republicans to stand up.

    As Mr. Levensen said, getting this through is just the start of the process and it needs to be done now. Onward.

  14. Getting congress to agree on an effective green house gas reduction plan soon is a long shot, but doable. Getting all the countries in the world to agree on a good plan is even a longer shot. Undeniably, both developments are necessary but would they be sufficient in themselves to solve the global warming problem? We can only hope so.

    My biggest fear is the sense of despair that would set in among those who care about the fate of the planet and its inhabitants if neither Congress or Copenhagen are successful. Then what?

    Although there are critical climate actions (regulations, standards, laws, etc.) that only governments can accomplish, there are critical actions that only individuals and local communities can accomplish (i.e.,grow our own food, practice efficiency, etc.) and we should not lose sight of the power of the people (yes, I know, another long shot)to rise to the occasion in the event Congress and Copenhagen fail to deliver effective plans.

  15. Phil Eisner says:

    Nuclear may be expensive but it is far safer than coal considering the sickness and deaths coal burning and mining produce! Furthermore, nuclear works well every day and night. Both wind and solar require backup power. Where will it come from? Power storage for nights and heavy clouds to back up solar, and back up wind during wind lulls is still not a great technology, especially for long periods, as far as I can see. The rest of the world is now pushing nuclear; it is inevitable and I believe important that we do so too.

  16. Leland Palmer says:

    Wonderful news, IMO, it’s so much better than a stalemate. I’m starting to feel real hope that we have a future after all.

    Having said that, of course it’s insufficient.

    But this legitimizes the issue, and hopefully clears the decks for more effective action in the future.

    Kudos to Kerry and even (ugh!) Graham for their role in making this deal.

    A world with a significant number of nuclear reactors is incompatible with a world in which many nations have nuclear weapons, though.

    For one thing, nuclear reactors and nuclear waste dumps can be targeted by nuclear weapons in a nuclear war, releasing huge amounts of very long lasting nuclear isotopes. This would be a catastrophe second only to runaway global warming.

    I hope that we will go ahead and build new nuclear reactors, if that’s what it takes to avoid runaway global warming, but get rid of the nuclear weapons.

    It may also be possible to put a limited number of nuclear weapons under an international peacekeeping body, and limit the possibility of nuclear war that way.

    And, personally, I’m not so sure that a new generation of nuclear reactors will be that expensive. Nuclear power in the early days, before the public judicial permitting process and the construction delays that accompanied that process, was actually pretty cheap. Can public safety be protected with a modified permitting process? Whatever the risk, it seems less than that of runaway global warming leading to a probable methane catastrophe.

    Congratulations, Joe. We’ll never know what part you may have played in building public and Congressional support for climate action.

    But Climate Progress is indeed being made. :)

  17. David B. Benson says:

    How long to build a nuclear replacement for coal, start to finish?

    Using combined cycle gas turbines replaces about 60% of the CO2 emissions and is much closer to having no other bad stuff in the exhaust. Takes but 4 years; 2 for site permissions and 2 to construct.

  18. Cynthia says:

    This statement by Kerry really got to me: “Many republicans remain concerned about the cost to Americans relative to the environmental benefits…” If we don’t address the climate change problem, billions of people will die; isn’t that a “cost to the American people”??! I read that many republicans who vote on the climate bills have alot of investments in fossil fuels… maybe that’s what they were really thinking of.

    As far as the bill itself goes, it sounds good in many ways– still I can’t help thinking that we don’t have the time or luxery for half-way measures, and that’s obviously what this bill is about. It’s better than nothing, a first step.

  19. Mike D says:

    Got to start somewhere, right? Especially when the alternative is no climate bill at all. Let’s get this done!

  20. Omega Centuri says:

    This is a real break that we wouldbe foolish to fritter away.
    The two biggest provisions, passing cap & trade & offshore drilling I think are win-win. As Joe argues about drilling:
    “Dems are not going to be able to resist the demand for opening more area to drilling anyway — so they might as well get a climate deal in return now.”

    Clearly that is going to be the case. Better to pre-empt the issue, than get beat up by it when the inevitable crunch comes. In my opinion one of the most destructive myths out there “that we could drill our way out of the energy crisis, if only we could get the da**ed environmentalists out of the way”, is very widely held. This view leads to disinterest in conservation and alternatives. The big gain allowing off-shore drilling,is that this dangerous myth could finally be put to rest. Secondarily any modest amounts of oil we do find will help with our balance of payments issues -and if we are smart royalties paid to the government could be used to fund conservation and budding alternative energy projects.

    Now, like others here, I’m not enamoured of “clean coal”, or Nuclear (although I like 4th gen & Thorium), I don’t think we will get much return on our investments in this technology. But, given my belief that US politics are the main obstacle to getting the world to begin to seriously deal with climate issues, I’m willing to compromise on them. It is a small price to pay for getting us to turn off the road to ruin that we currently are following.

    Now, what I’d like to see regarding the Nuclear & sequestration issues.But,lets not push too hard on these just now,unblocking US legislation comes first.

    (3)Nuclear. Clearly the current boiling water once through fuel cycle is highly wasteful. Taking an extremely high value energy resource, and turning it into dangerous waste after extracting perhaps one percent of the potential energy borders on the obscene. Advanced fuel cycle,and Thorium fuel cycle, are clearly the way to go here. Unfortunately the sums invested in the development of these alternatives have been too paltry for either to be ready for significant deployment any time soon. But investment in these technologies should be part of our insurance policy for the future.

    (4) Carbon capture and storage: I don’t hold out much hope for clean coal. But, I think we can start advancing the case for eventually capturing the carbon from natural gas power generation. Because there is much less carbon per kilowatt hour generated with natural gas the economics of capture and storage should be much better than with coal. And if the natural gas optimists are right (or the long shot methane from gas-hydrates becomes doable), we will need this technology to limit future emissions anyway. So lets try to diversify our sequestration research budget, and include a healthy dose of research into CCS for natural gas power plants.

  21. David B. Benson says:

    Omega Centuri — One way to do CCS with natgas is via oxy-fuel turbines. The small DoE project working on this was partially defunded by the previous administration and so the demonstrator now don’t be ready before 2015. Please do what you can to encourage putting it back on a faster track. Write your senators and Secretary Chu. Thanks.

  22. Stephan says:

    I’m really curious how long it is going to take to finally get this bill stamped. It is about time to change, because if we don’t, we might not live to see the consequences. Hopefully some additional pressure helps to enforce a climate bill this time.

    For more info on the environment, have a look at this Green News.

  23. adin maynard says:

    Yes industry needs to be prepared.
    The Home Performance industry- the folks who will see 10 million homes 25% more energy efficient by 2020- need a funded climate bill with incentives, such as currently present in Kerry-Boxer (and passed in Waxman-Markey in the House). Hopefully these direct incentives- REEP, will be in the new compromise.

    Lets open up small business- particularly those providing energy efficiency services.

  24. Edward Greisch says:

    Thanks Joe. Everybody keep sending emails to Congress. We may be having an effect.

  25. Rockfish says:

    I’m with the skeptics on this. I see hardly any mention of the real meat of this proposal, only a long list of the concessions being made to the Republicans to get a name with an “R” on it.

  26. Cynthia says:

    Isn’t the arctic summer sea ice supposed to disappear in a couple years, resulting in an increase in local temperatures of about 5 degrees? Seems to me, methane gas will start gushing out as a conseqence.

    According to the video, “A Really Inconvenient Truth” with Dan Miller(works with Al Gore), these are facts on Perma Frost: stores methane in Siberia and other arctic regions; melting now & already releasing 50M tons per year; entire region on the verge of collapse; a near- term tipping point which could overwhelm human efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Do we really want to give industry the right to drill, baby drill under these circumstances? Or for polluters to have extended time to reduce GHG emissions, as this bill proposes?

    Incidentally, the one thing I’ve discoverd that will shut skeptics up, is to give them a copy of the preview, “Killer In Our Midst”– Methane Catastrophes in Earth’s Past and Near Future. Works everytime!!

  27. Cynthia says:

    I don’t think we should worry about Republicans taking over the next election; climate change is going to be on everyone’s minds by then and the republicans won’t stand a chance!

  28. If you want to see how an actual new nuclear power plant project is playing out, go to this story from yesterday’s San Antonio Express News about how the city-owned utility (CPS) is experiencing severe financial problems yet is still advancing plans for participation in two proposed nuclear plants by proposing an immediate 9.5% rate increase (with more to follow) plus DROPPING pollution control, Smart Grid, and renewable energy improvements:

    The San Antonio project — which is supposed to be “the first” new generation nuclear project in the U.S. — starkly illustrates Amory Lovins’ point that every new nuclear power plant built will actually INCREASE global warming. This is because nuclear robs funds from other projects, which would reduce global warming far more with the same or less amount of money. As San Antonio is finding out, there is not enough money available to do everything, and nuclear projects effectively “suck all the money out of the room”.

    It will be interesting to see what a “robust” nuclear title will be in the new sausage-factory Climate Bill. If Republicans really think nuclear will be a financially viable option for utilities to pursue, then Federal Loan Guarantees should be limited to a more traditional debt/equity ratio for utilities, such as 55% loan/45% equity. (Current Federal Nuclear Loan Guarantees allow up to 80% of project cost.) Cutting the % of project cost loan limit would spread the nuclear loan guarantee limits over potentially MORE nuclear projects, and it would be a solid test of whether utility shareholders are willing to fund their normal share of project risks.

  29. David Watson says:

    Not only climate change, but the price of oil and gas. Trust me they will never go down like people think. And i don’t think the world will follow the US any more. It seems now people look to Europe more and who can get Asia to conform as well?

  30. CTF says:

    While I admire and respect Senator Graham’s commitment to this issue and believe wholeheartedly that we must do something soon to stem the tide of global climate change, I hope that he and his colleagues take a serious look at the alternatives to the watered down and ineffective cap and trade system on which they’ve based both the House and Senate versions of the bill. A carbon tax shift approach would benefit the environment measurably more than cap and trade, incentivize green R&D AND return the revenue to the people.

  31. David Lewis says:

    It isn’t just the coal lobbyists calling for support for carbon capture.

    Quoting from the IPCC Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage:

    “This report shows that the potential of CO2 capture and storage is considerable, and the costs for mitigating climate change can be decreased compared to strategies where only other climate change mitigation options are considered.”

    The recent (Sept 2009) Royal Society “Geoengineering the Climate” report deferred to this IPCC carbon capture report, saying “conventional carbon capture and storage (CCS) is not considered in detail as this issue was recently extensively discussed by the IPCC (2005).”

    The IAC, the InterAcademy Council, a creation of the world’s scientific academies, set up a committee chaired by Steven Chu which put out “Lighting the Way”, said by them to be the best scientific advice available on what to do about climate change. Quoting from that report, on carbon capture:

    “CONCLUSION 3. Technologies for capturing and sequestering carbon from fossil fuels, particularly coal, can play a major role in the cost-effective management of global carbon dioxide emissions.”

    Just because Big Coal has poisoned the atmosphere with its all talk, no build, and lobby behind the scenes so they will never have to build campaign for “clean coal”, doesn’t change what the highest level scientific authorities have said and continue to say about this technology.

  32. David Lewis says:

    Nuclear power, attitudes of influential scientists dept:

    At his Senate confirmation hearing, Steven Chu said:

    Chu: “But it – you know, but there is certainly a changing mood in the country because nuclear is carbon free…”

    Sen Corker: “Right”.

    Dr. Chu: “… that we should look at it with new eyes.”