Waxman-Markey Showdown Today
The key for me on the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill, which may or may not pass the House today (actually, my money's on pass), was always whether or not it gets the ball rolling on renewables, efficiency and emission reduction. I don't think we'll ever have the sufficient political will to do what's necessary based on the science - there are just too many variables and regional obstacles - and so we'll need to adapt and innovate our way out of this mess. Time Magazine has a pretty good pieceon those political obstacles.
If Nancy Pelosi gets her way by the end of the week, the U.S. House of Representatives will have passed landmark global-warming legislation. But you might not know it from the near unanimously bad reviews so many different interested parties are giving it. Groups as disparate as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Farm Bureau, the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers have expressed either strong concerns or outright opposition to the bill.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Global warming has long been a Democratic priority — and with House Speaker Pelosi and President Barack Obama behind it, many didn't think Democrats would have had such a hard time reaching a consensus on legislation. But getting enough rural and moderate Democrats to sign on was no easy task; the final (some would say watered down) deal is a hard-won, middle-of-the-road bill that is still likely to lose Democratic votes from both the right and the left, though it may gain some moderate Republicans.
Al Gore thinks this bill does provide a decent start and sets the table for the Copenhagen talks in December; others disagree. There are warnings that the bill would allow companies to move overseas for their fuel, expanding our trade deficit and cutting jobs. There's just as reasonable a theory that the renewable and efficiency targets in the bill would create lots of jobs here in America, manufacturing jobs in parts and supplies for the new energy economy.
It really is a toss-up to me. The President has done some really bad environmental things in the courts, but he appears to genuinely want this bill to pass. I think Digby gets the politics right - a loss here in the House would mean nothing more for a couple years, and would stall the momentum for the more progressive elements of the Obama agenda. Regardless of what passes today, the fight goes on for those who want to see the planet protected and a new economy bloom.