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Coming to Copenhagen commits Obama to getting the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill passed

By Joe Romm  

"Coming to Copenhagen commits Obama to getting the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill passed"

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E&E: “U.N. negotiations will help reset Senate’s clock”

President Obama and congressional leaders can expect to have a new target completion date in mid-to-late 2010 for passing a global warming and energy bill after the U.N. negotiations wrap up here at the end of the week.The 193 countries are likely to leave with an agreement to finish their work either at a June meeting or at the next annual U.N. conference slated for Nov. 8-19 in Mexico City.

Don’t call it a deadline. But whichever date they pick, it will become critical for Obama back in Washington as he will essentially be putting his credibility on the line and pledging to the world that he can return to the bargaining table with firm commitments on how to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in long-term financing to help developing countries cope with climate change.

That E&E News (subs. req’d) analysis affirms what I said late last month after President Obama said he would attend Copenhagen, bringing “a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020″³:

Much of the status quo media remains stuck in an everything-progressives-are-doing-will-fail bandwagon, so they missed the key implications of that amazing announcement “” Obama just doubled down on a domestic climate bill.  Yes, I know, you keep reading stories about how the administration is walking away from the bipartisan climate and clean bill.

Here’s more from the E&E News story:

“By coming, and assuming there’s an agreement with a deadline, he’s effectively committing himself to getting the job done, getting the bill through Congress and getting to a final agreement,” said Elliot Diringer, vice president for international strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “He may not say that, but that’s the message that will be heard.”

… Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has saved floor time next spring for the energy and climate bill, and the trio of Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Linsdey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are working on crafting a bill capable of winning 60 votes.

Coming out of Copenhagen, the three senators hope to have the U.N.-backed schedule in hand that they can use to push reluctant lawmakers into negotiations. They’ll be making their case as diplomats fret that the U.N. negotiations may continue to be sidetracked if Obama and Congress do not have success.

“We are of course following the developments very closely because we know it has vast implications for the U.S.’s ability to deliver,” said Anders Turreson, Sweden’s chief negotiator and the leader of the European Union’s climate delegation.

Kunihiko Shimada, a top Japanese international climate negotiator, said he hopes the U.N. talks can resume next summer at the same time Obama has a climate law in hand. But he said he is also aware of the stiff climb on Capitol Hill and thinks it is more likely that a final, legally binding agreement won’t be ready until Mexico City.

“Realistically, that’s what I expect,” Shimada said. “But among the ministers, they expect by the end of June they’d like to see the final results. If the U.S. Congress can make its decisions by then, then we can make the big deal.”

Longtime observers of Congress caution against putting lawmakers onto a firm deadline to finish their work, especially given other priorities and the election-year dynamics that will make it hard for Obama to find support among Republicans and moderate Democrats….

Jim Connaughton, who served as chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under former President George W. Bush, said it would be useful for Congress to finish by the time U.N. talks resume next year.

“Need? No. Strong imperative? Yes,” Connaughton said. “It’d be odd to say you have to have a statement from the Senate before the president finishes up the international negotiations. That’d be odd. But why I think it’s imperative is this time around, confidence in a climate agreement is going to depend on highly credible domestic programs backing up pledges by all nations, not just the United States.”

… Paul Bledsoe, a spokesman for the Bipartisan Policy Center, said there is a “natural shape to the calendar” in Washington based on what the deadlines are coming out of Copenhagen. He added that Obama does not need the final law to navigate effectively on the world stage. But the bill will need to be close if he is going to have credibility to make any significant commitments.

“If Congress is well on its way to passage of a mandatory bill, the administration can negotiate in all good faith,” Bledsoe said. “It will matter a lot what they’re able to get done in the late winter and spring as to whether that’s the case.”

The forces of anti-science will do their best to stop the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill, but I think Obama will prevail.

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5 Responses to Coming to Copenhagen commits Obama to getting the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill passed

  1. Raleigh Latham says:

    In a USA today interview Senator Inhofe said:

    “We know (the bill) is never going to go to a vote, It’s dead. It’s gone … I’m not going to allow them to think America is going to do something it’s not.”

    I ripped the god damn paper up when I read that, because I want to prove that gutless, pathetic ignorant bastard wrong…that America IS going to pass this the clean energy and climate bill. I want to go to Oklahoma, and wave the passed legislation which promises hundreds of billions of dollars in renewable energy investment in his god damn face.

    We cannot let this old, ignorant, heartless man destroy our future. Let’s use this disgusting human being as a rallying cry for what we are fighting against: ignorance, denial, and greed.

  2. MarkB says:

    “President Obama and congressional leaders can expect to have a new target completion date in mid-to-late 2010 for passing a global warming and energy bill after the U.N. negotiations wrap up here at the end of the week.”

    I thought the Senate would get this going in the spring. Seems like a dumb idea to let it linger too long past the summer, given the November midterm elections, which could conceivably persuade a few cowardly red state or red district politicians into voting against it.

  3. I still am very pessimistic about congressional approval of a strong climate bill. I have never believed our national politics would allow it absent anxious and demonstrative citizens who strongly perceive dangerous warming. No U.N. vote or document or pressure will help; the U.S. has been impervious in the past to world pressure and will be so again. This is not a matter of stubborn or stupid politicians; it is more a matter of economic ideas such as cheap energy improves our GDP (or local economies), that powerful lobbies will re-elect politicians who play the game, and elections come up soon while we are still in recession.

    Is Obama powerful enough to turn this around? That is the question. The question is not whether the Copenhagen meeting can come to an agreement that will stop terrible warming consequences, or an agreement that will make our Senate happy! Obama is struggling to get a decent medical bill out of the Senate; he does not seem that powerful to me.

    Together, China and the United States hold the short-term key to stopping CO2 emissions before it is too late. After 10 or 20 years, the rest of the developing world along with world population growth will take over and swamp the atmosphere with their CO2. Unless there are a couple of miracles, I don’t see how we are going to prevent about 500 ppm of CO2 in the not far future.

  4. raleigh Latham says:

    Be pessimistic all you want, it’s easy. But this is the future of everything at stake, and we can’t let that bastard Inhofe win. I’m gonna donate time, money, whatever I have to any campaign to fight Inhofe. There’s never been a more clear enemy in my mind than that traitor.

    Is there any organizations specifically meant to attack Inhofe in his state or at a national level?

  5. Jim Hazen says:

    If global warming “science” is so “robust”, why not debate skeptics instead of making personal attacks. A simple question: Was there a Medieval Warm period? Followup: If not, where did the Viking farm found buried in the permafrost in Greenland come from?

    The consensus is: “Go ahead and launch the Challenger.”