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Obama praises climate deal, Sierra Club vows to “strengthen this bill,” House GOP vows to kill it

By Joe Romm

"Obama praises climate deal, Sierra Club vows to “strengthen this bill,” House GOP vows to kill it"

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President Obama praised House Democrats today for “extraordinary progress” in their negotiations on global warming and energy legislation at the center of his domestic agenda.

So reports Greenwire (subs. req’d) today:

“I want to take a moment, before I start talking about health care, just to congratulate Chairman [Henry] Waxman and the Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats, who’ve made such extraordinary progress in reaching a deal on comprehensive energy reform and climate legislation,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

“This is a major step forward in building the kind of clean energy economy that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” the president added.

Obama repeated his clarion call for action:

“I once again call on Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution, which will then drive and incent for the kind of innovation and dynamic, new, clean energy economy that can create jobs and new businesses all across America,” he said. “So this is an example of the extraordinary productivity that we’re seeing over in the House right now.”

Joe “regulating CO2 could ‘close down the New York and Boston marathons’ ” Barton declares war on it:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, predicted a fierce battle during next week’s markup. “We will never surrender on any cap-and-trade proposal,” he told reporters today. “If they take cap and trade off the table, everything else is negotiable.”

And Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope issued this statement:

Chairmen Waxman and Markey have done heroic work in reaching agreement on the Energy and Commerce Committee around a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan, a critically important milestone that has faced seemingly insuperable obstacles. Their leadership has been truly remarkable.  But it is clear that Big Oil, Big Coal and other polluters are still holding out for a Congressional bailout. They will continue to try to riddle this legislation with loopholes, water it down, and load it up with hundreds of billions of dollars in giveaways. They don’t want it to deliver a recovery fueled by the clean energy jobs that America needs.

“These polluters are trying to strangle the clean energy economy in its cradle, steal the benefits of the clean energy future from the American people, and keep us addicted to oil and dirty coal. As this bill moves through the many remaining steps in the legislative process, we will work to strengthen this bill, so that it meets President Obama’s challenge to Congress and the American people. Only a bill which accomplishes these three things can really jumpstart the green recovery, build the clean energy future, and end our addiction to oil and coal:

  • Dramatically ramp up America’s transition to cleaner, cheaper energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal
  • Close the carbon pollution loophole and make polluters pay for the carbon pollution they emit
  • Slash energy waste in order to cut emissions quickly and cheaply, while saving consumers money on their energy bills

I hope the final bill is one that Sierra Club can support.

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7 Responses to Obama praises climate deal, Sierra Club vows to “strengthen this bill,” House GOP vows to kill it

  1. Pat Richards says:

    Rep. Joe Barton still can’t do basic math: The Republicans simply do not have the numbers in the House to stop the Waxman-Markey bill from passing. They can bluster all they want, but the simple fact is that the American people voted them into a solid minority in the House which does not have the power to stop anything the majority really wants to pass. The Senate is a different matter (but only by one or two votes). Despite the official story, all of the unfortunate compromising and watering down of the original provisions in Waxman-Marley were done not to satisfy House Republicans, but because they wanted to get a bill out of the House that stands a chance of passing the Senate. For practical purposes, Joe Barton and his bunch of ostriches are irrelevant at this point — and they will continue to be irrelevant until they get their heads out of their… out of the sand.

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    Pat Richards wrote: “The Republicans simply do not have the numbers in the House to stop the Waxman-Markey bill from passing.”

    Unfortunately, the Republicans don’t need the numbers in the full House. There are enough Democrats on the committee who are bought-and-paid-for shills for the fossil fuel corporations to block any meaningful legislation. That’s the greater danger right now.

    Unfortunately, taking bribes from the oil and coal corporations is a bipartisan practice.

  3. Rick Covert says:

    Waxman cut a deal with these blue dogs precisely to get this bill passed. It has weakened the bill but I don’t see the blue dogs to be a problem at this point.

    This brings up another important point. The public is already incensed over bailouts to the banks and the car companies. They’re also loosing their jobs. I remember when I lost mine years ago and I listened to a programmer, a really great guy btw who promotes renewables, energy efficiency and CO2 reduction, on our local Pacifica Radio affiliate here in Houston make the argument, quite correctly, that gasoline was priced to cheap because we were consuming it with wild abandon and he was right. The trouble was I was angry with being unemployed and I fealt I was getting my pocket picked by every chisler on the planet. Now you can label me the classic liberal if you like though that’s not the term I would use.

    Now imagine a congressman who votes for Waxman-Markey try to counter the imense propaganda from the Limbaughs, the Hannities, the Becks and the tremendous messaging muscle of the oil and coal industries explain that to their constituency back in Ohio and Indiana and you see the problem. Yes they take campaign contributions from the oil and coal industry but their constituents get their news from the radio and network news and that’s where the fossil fuel lobbies will target their message. These lobbyists do it this way because it works.

  4. Craig says:

    Pat Richards wrote: “For practical purposes, Joe Barton and his bunch of ostriches are irrelevant at this point — and they will continue to be irrelevant until they get their heads out of their… out of the sand.”

    I only wish that were true. The sad truth is they are still incredibly relevant. And not just because of the fact that not a single Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce committee seems courageous enough to cross the aisle and vote for the legislation.
    The denier/delayers, with their relentless campaign of misinformation and disinformation, played a large role in watering down this bill. The moderate House Dems from heavily coal-dependent states obviously have an eye on the next elections. And many realize that in the mid-term elections their Republican opponents are going to hammer them with “the light switch tax”, “the $3100 household energy increase”, “the China and India aren’t doing anything”, “the industries relocating overseas”, and “the climate is always changing” arguments. It doesn’t matter that these are baseless. It doesn’t matter that no credible economic or scientific analysis has even remotely demonstrated their validity. They are incredible effective and powerful weapons.

    And because the media has done an abysmal job of accurately reporting on climate change, most voters are woefully misinformed about the science and the economics of the issue.

  5. Reaching for a positive spin on this: It is good that the public is starting to build an association between Congressional action and global warming – even a weak one. As destabilization increases, Congress will be pushed into greater action.

  6. I wrote at Triple Pundit today about how the forces of evil will spend $1 billion fighting this legislation. That tells me a great deal about this bill. Regardless of its flaws, I’ve reached the conclusion that this is the best we can do for now.

    http://www.triplepundit.com/pages/pr-battle-over-capandtrade-reaches-a-fev.php

    Let’s fight to get Waxman-Markey out of committee.

    Then let start working to change the game, so we can go even further in the coming years.

  7. Leland Palmer says:

    “This is a major step forward in building the kind of clean energy economy that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” the president added.

    Obama repeated his clarion call for action:

    “I once again call on Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution, which will then drive and incent for the kind of innovation and dynamic, new, clean energy economy that can create jobs and new businesses all across America,” he said. “So this is an example of the extraordinary productivity that we’re seeing over in the House right now.”

    Well, it’s progress. But a clean energy economy is only carbon neutral.

    We need to go “carbon negative” to counter methane emissions from the warming permafrost and CO2 emissions from burning forests.

    http://news.mongabay.com/bioenergy/2007/05/worlds-first-carbon-negative-energy.html

    We need to seize the coal fired power plants, and convert them to biocarbon fuel, oxyfuel combustion, a HiPPS topping cycle, and carbon capture and storage. If we did this, we could have biocarbon fueled power plants that are as efficient as existing coal plants, which pay for carbon capture and storage with increased combustion efficiency.

    Such plants would be hugely synergistic, and would actually transfer carbon back underground. Such a carbon negative strategy could have a huge impact on global warming, because it simultaneously displaces fossil fuels, generates useful electricity, fire protects the forests, removes sources of methane, and puts carbon back underground.

    Too good to be true?

    No.