There’s is growing bipartisan support for a shrinking cap on carbon.
On Friday, Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) put forward a draft climate bill, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act — full text and info here. The bill embraces a market-based system to set a price on CO2 using a shrinking cap on carbon with post-2020 targets that are similar to the ones in the House bill that passed and the Senate bills under consideration.
While the bill is a political nonstarter that is unlikely to garner broad support (see below), the good news is that it’s exceedingly difficult to imagine that the two Senators could support this bill and not ultimately support the final version of the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill that Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman are working on with the White House with the support of Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
A key swing Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), released this remarkably positive statement about the CLEAR Act:
It appears that we are waiting for some senators in the U.S. Congress to conclude before we can consider this issue properly. It is an irony of the modern world that the fate of the world is being determined by some senators in the U.S. Congress.
The New York Times explains the “obstacles” that the Senate poses for Obama. The Tuvaluan delegate suggested that President Obama earn his “rightly or wrongly”-awarded Nobel Peace Prize by addressing climate change, “the greatest threat to humanity.” Tearfully, he concluded: “The fate of my country rests in your hands.” The U.S. representative, Jonathan Pershing, spoke a few minutes later, but “didn’t respond directly to Tuvalu’s plea.”
AP reporters read emails, 1 million words, and queried “seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.”
In the past three weeks since the e-mails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science have repeatedly quoted excerpts of about a dozen e-mails. Republican congressmen and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have called for either independent investigations, a delay in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases or outright boycotts of the Copenhagen international climate talks. They cited a “culture of corruption” that the e-mails appeared to show.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:02 am
This post, by guest blogger Mindy S. Lubber, President, Ceres, was first published here.
So why are Nike, Johnson Controls and Sempra Energy sending top execs to Copenhagen to monitor the international climate talks.
To block a strong climate deal, right? No, wrong.
Dozens of U.S. companies are here advocating for a tough international pact that reduces pollution and accelerates clean energy innovation. The political uncertainty surrounding climate change regulation — both in the U.S. and globally – is stifling their businesses.
“We’re looking to come out with a deal,” said Clay Nesler, vice president of global energy and sustainability at Johnson Controls Inc., a Wisconsin-based company with 133,000 global employees. “We’d like to see the uncertainty reduced. Businesses around the world want this to be settled so they can start reducing their emissions.”
Many of the companies here are unequivocal about the need for dramatically reducing global carbon emissions.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:51 am
Tea-time with TVMOB
This is a guest post by Dr. Benjamin Hale. I’m filing this under humor because I don’t have a category for unintentional humor and/or intentional tragedy.
Explosive, Breaking News!
One of the stranger features about this Copenhagen conference is that so many people involved in the climate debate, from many sides, are all in the same town, all at the same time. Among the people inside and outside of the COP, the skeptic community has come to town.
Yesterday, a top negotiator for the small island nations of the world said that the nations of the world assembled in Copenhagen — soon including President Obama and other world leaders — “have to discuss” the proposal of the tiny Pacific island state of Tuvalu to make an absolute effort to stop global warming. Tuvalu has formally proposed to amend the international climate treaty to reduce the concentrations of global warming pollution to 350ppm from 387ppm, and strictly limit further warming to less than double what has already occurred. Tuvalu is “in the eye of the cyclone” of global warming, already severely damaged by increased cyclones, sea level rise, and coral bleaching.
Tuvalu’s insistence that their amendment to dramatically strengthen the Kyoto Protocol be formally debated shut down the public negotiations during the first week when China and other powerful developing nations objected. In an interview with the Wonk Room, Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima — Cape Verde’s Ambassador to the United Nations and Vice Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) — conceded that the small island states were willing to accept a consensus result that did not achieve all of the demands in the Tuvalu proposal:
If we can avoid voting, it is the best. If you can reach consensus, that’s the best. But the Tuvalu propsition is only a proposition. We have to discuss it. Of course, China has its own idea on this, and we understand what China is saying. But I think that Tuvalu has the right to put this forward. Because Tuvalu is in the eye of the cyclone, like all of us. They have the right to ask for the maximum, and perhaps . . .
The interview took place at the end of a press conference with two of the top organizers for the international climate movement, Bill McKibben of 350.org and Ricken Patel of Avaaz.org. In an impassioned speech, the ambassador fluently explained that the youth of the world must provide a voice for the small island nations and other countries on the front lines of global warming. Monteiro Lima said that above all, his delegation wants to see a “legally binding outcome” to the Copenhagen talks, because “we cannot go to our people and say we have nothing”:
A legally binding outcome, this is our demand, which includes perhaps not all of our demands, but a lot of our demands. It is very crucial for us. But a legally binding document is absolutely necessary at the end of this meeting. Because we cannot go to our people and say we have nothing.
The primary objection to the consideration of the Tuvalu proposal made by other developing countries is that it could block the passage of an extension of the legally binding (but developing-country-friendly) Kyoto Protocol. Its terms are politically unacceptable to both most developed and developing nations, as it would require strict reductions in pollution from all large polluting nations, rich and poor. Those reductions would be the only way to achieve the pollution and warming limits the small island nations are arguing are necessary to their survival. In the plenary session, China and some other nations questioned whether the Tuvalu amendment would kill the Kyoto Protocol. Ambassador Monteiro Lima explained that was absolutely not the case:
No, because the Tuvalu amendment doesn’t mean the killing of the Kyoto Protocol. We just want some amendments in the Kyoto Protocol. Nobody in AOSIS is asking for the disappearance of the Kyoto Protocol. No! There was a misunderstanding. We don’t want that. Those who want to kill the Kyoto Protocol are not us.
Several developed nations — including Canada and Japan — have explicitly called for the end to the Kyoto Protocol, preferring the Long-term Commitment to Action (LCA) track of nationally determined targets for both developed nations and the richest developing countries. The European Union is open to some extension of the Kyoto Protocol in parallel with the LCA approach.
Delegates ultimately adopted the stop-gap solution put forward by Hedegaard when the plenary resumed later in the day: The chair will name members of an informal workgroup to be co-chaired by one Annex I country (developed) and one non-Annex I country (developing) to study whether the contact group should be appointed. The workgroup will report back on Dec. 14.
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.