Whatever the short-term price oscillations are, ultimately, the price will keep rising until global demand is seriously destroyed.
Our guest bloggers are Jason Walsh and Van Jones from Green for All.
This morning, Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act came to an end. It was a missed opportunity to robustly debate a critical issue facing the country. The bill had the potential, particularly if strengthened during the amendment process, to affect profound and positive change for both the American people and the planet.
It is a shame that political gamesmanship paralyzed the Senate on such a crucial piece of legislation. Many of the arguments against the legislation were patently false. It was particularly ironic that some senators chose to argue against this bill on the basis that it does not protect those less fortunate; their voting records clearly indicate that the poor are not the constituents with whom they are most concerned.
Hypocrisy aside, the claim that the bill hurts the underserved ignored the assistance for low-income families and workers already in the legislation — which could and should have been strengthened by an amendment filed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) — and the critical investments that the bill makes in providing economic opportunities for low-income workers and building the wealth and health of low-income communities.
The fact of the matter is that this issue is far too important to employ scare tactics and play politics with. The effects of global warming, which hit low-income people first and worst, are real and they warrant a genuine discussion and substantive action.
We do, however, want to commend Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). She has proven herself to be the national leader and voice that we have been longing for in the Senate. She is a true heroine, and the nation will owe her an incalculable debt when we finally win sane climate policy in the United States.
We hope to continue the conversation, and insist that any federal climate legislation must: Read more
During a conference call with reporters today, the McCain campaign tried to push back against Florida environmental groups who have criticized Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for opposing a bill that would have allocated $2 billion for Everglades restoration. The campaign claimed that the senator has strong environmental credentials and argued that he has “always stood for Everglades restoration,” and only opposed the 2007 Water Resources Development Act because it included “other spending”:
REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R-FL): The only thing that cannot be said is that he voted against that bill because he is against Everglades restoration. … He has always been in favor of Everglades restoration. … He voted against it because of other spending. … What is totally inaccurate is to say that he voted against Everglades restoration.
But McCain’s argument that he often votes against causes he supports because those bills contain “wasteful earmarks” does not hold water. In May 2007, by his own admission, McCain voted for a $120 billion dollar Iraq war funding measure, despite the fact that it contained $17 billion in “other spending.” Speaking on the floor of the Senate the day the bill passed, McCain said he was voting for the bill “with deep reservations”:
McCAIN: We are about to pass a bill that while better than the last version, still contains billions of dollars that have nothing to do with the War on Terror. We can do better than this. The American taxpayers deserve and expect more.
During his speech McCain even listed “some of the un-requested and un-authorized items contained in this bill”:
– $110 million in aid to the shrimp and fisheries industries;
- $11 million for flood control projects in New York and New Jersey;
- $37 million to modernize the Farm Service Agency’s computer system;
- $13 million for the Save America’s Treasures program; and,
- $3 billion in agriculture disaster assistance, including $22 million to support the Department of Agriculture in implementing programs to provide this un-requested and unauthorized funding.
Despite the bill’s “irresponsible” spending, McCain promised to “vote for it nonetheless in order to support our brave men and women fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
McCain thinks funding the environment is too pricey, but he is willing to support the Iraq war at any cost.
Cross-posted at ThinkProgress.
… it appears that for now, the Senate, at the direction of the Majority Leader, will choose to put politics above policy, and Congress will fail to act yet again on this critical issue.
You cannot be serious! The people who put politics above policy were McCain’s fellow conservatives, who
- Forced 30 hours of pointless debate
- Forced a 9-hour reading of the bill
- Demagogued the gasoline and energy price issue over and over again
- Denied the reality of climate science
- Voted to block the bill from moving forward
That’s why Congress failed to act. And, of course, Bush said he would veto the bill any way. Where or where did the straight talk express derail?
This morning, in the only order of business today, the Senate voted 48-36 to filibuster the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036) — 60 votes would have been required to achieve cloture and limit debate. 16 senators — six Democrats and ten Republicans — failed to vote.
The vote was specifically on cloture for Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) substititute amendment (S.A. 4825) to the bill.
UPDATE: Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund:
Once again President Bush acted as big-oil lobbyist-in-chief to help block debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act S. 3036. Despite his opposition, and millions of dollars of campaign cash from oil, coal and other interests, this bill got the most support ever for a global warming bill. This occurred due to the vigorous leadership from Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer.
At the last minute, Senator John McCain issued support for cloture, but at a price: billions of dollars for nuclear pork, and zero assistance for American families. He did nothing to convince President Bush or Senate Republican leaders to end their obstruction. And then he had the gall to claim it was Majority Leader Harry Reid who “put politics above policy.”
The missing ingredient for solving global warming is consistent presidential leadership, which should begin on Inauguration Day 2009. Our economy and planet can’t wait much longer.
Needed 60 votes to proceed. Bottom line: B-L-W is still dead.
Here is McCain’s pro-pork statement:
Okay, so the long, long, long dead B-L-W bill got propped up and dragged around for a few days. [Tagline: B-L-W may be dead, but it's the life of the party!] But I think the debate was quite useful for two reasons:
- The opponents of (even modest) action played and overplayed their cards. Now we know that the health and well-being of future generations is of no interest in them. Now we know what their primary arguments will be. This is the opportunity for progressives and moderates and hopefully President Obama to design a better messaging strategy — and to get pro cap and trade businesses to weigh in.
- The many flaws in the bill (other than the fact it wouldn’t actually save the climate) were exposed: not enough money returned to taxpayers, too much money given away to too many groups, too complicated, your flaw here — I’d very much like to hear your ideas for how the bill could be simplified and improved.
I will be offering my recommendations for what a better bill would look like later this month. Clearly the bill should be designed to achieve more reductions and to be easier to explain and defend.
After all, the original Weekend at Bernie’s was kind of fun and made money. But did anybody actually see (and enjoy) Weekend at Bernie’s II? We don’t want a lame remake next year.