The Political Problem of Climate Change
The President spoke this morning at the UN Summit on Global Climate Change, in an effort to return that issue to the forefront in advance of global talks in Copenhagen.
The renewed emphasis on climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions comes at a crucial time: Negotiators are entering the home stretch in a drive to unveil a comprehensive international agreement to curb rising temperatures at a December conference in Copenhagen.
With key divisions remaining among the major industrialized nations, as well as with developing industrial powers and poorer nations, there is concern that negotiations leading up to Copenhagen could be bogging down. Obama administration officials, while admitting the seriousness of the challenges, hold out hope for a deal.
The article goes on to list nine points of contention that Obama and his team will have to deal with if they are to get both a climate change bill through Congress and an agreement in Copenhagen that the Senate can ratify. While Europe is grumbling on the sidelines about American inaction, it's really a function of an undemocratic Senate. I still believe Obama can get something done, but he has to slide anything past the likes of Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson, instead of just being able to implement the agenda he feels is right. I think that Obama will look to highlight the work of EPA rulemakers more than the Senate in vowing to keep to any commitments made in Denmark. Unfortunately, we don't have a political system that attunes itself well to long-term structural environmental changes where the future is unknown. Actually, the system doesn't attune itself well to much these days.
...Obama called the US determined to act in his remarks, but of course the problem is that over 40 Americans are determined to not act, and they happen to be US Senators who can easily blow up the whole thing... Obama's remarks.
...I did not realize that Boxer would release her draft next week. I like the idea of doing it in the shadow of the health care debate, to lessen the attention from the right. She's also raising the cap to 20% below 2020 levels instead of 17%. I'd be shocked to see the Senate bill improve on the House bill's numbers, but I certainly hope that can happen.