April 14, 2010 |
Leading voices in the Senate are considering a new tax on gasoline as part of an effort to win Republican and oil industry support for the energy and climate bill now idling in Congress. The tax, which according to early estimates would be in the range of 15 cents a gallon, was conceived with the input of several oil companies, including Shell, BP and ConocoPhillips, and is being championed by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. It is shaping up as a critical but controversial piece in the efforts by Graham, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.
September 30, 2009 |
The Senate's environment committee is set to take up an energy and climate-change bill that features a 20% cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a target that is stricter than legislation passed by the House this summer, according to an 801-page draft of the bill. The measure, to be unveiled Wednesday, is co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). It will serve as the starting point for what promises to be a long and complicated series of negotiations that may not produce a final bill until next year, at the earliest.
June 2, 2010 |
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill should inspire the U.S. to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, President Obama said Wednesday, issuing his strongest promise yet to fight for Senate passage of a climate bill. The only way the country will ever transition to clean energy is if the private sector has to pay a price for carbon pollution, Obama told an audience of students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. The House has already passed a bill designed to do that, and a similar plan is pending before the Senate, but passage is imperiled by a flood of issues competing for attention this election year.
May 5, 2010 |
Some environmentalists and liberal lawmakers believe the BP oil spill has handed President Obama a significant political opportunity to renew his stalled energy and climate bill, and are urging him to push for sweeping legislation to move the country away from reliance on oil and other fossil fuels. "He needs a response which is as big as the spill is," said Wesley Warren, program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington. The climate bill that White House officials have been negotiating called for limited greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, transportation fuels and eventually factories.
March 30, 2010 |
As an environmentalist, Michael Brune made a name for himself by spearheading an unrelenting and ultimately successful campaign to pressure Home Depot into phasing out sales of lumber from endangered rain forests. Now, Brune is taking the reins of the Sierra Club at a time when much of the movement has turned away from confrontational tactics in favor of compromise, especially on the push for sweeping new federal legislation on climate change. Brune, who took on Home Depot while heading the Rainforest Action Network, recently discussed his approach to the climate change issue.
October 12, 2009
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce touts itself as the world's largest business federation, boasting 3 million members. Er, make that 2,999,996. And falling. The chamber has been beset by embarrassing headlines recently, as large companies that oppose the organization's hostility toward climate-change legislation head for the exits. The very public departures of three utilities -- San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric, Albuquerque-based PNM Resources and Chicago-based Exelon Corp.
February 5, 2010
If changes in the public mood and the party alignment of the U.S. Senate have stalled healthcare legislation, they may have thrown the highly anticipated climate bill under a bus. Even before Republican Scott Brown's stunning election to the Senate in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts last month, it was proving hard to corral moderate Democrats to support a bill capping greenhouse gas emissions. Now they're afraid to back anything that could be perceived as harmful to the economy.
November 28, 2009
As the Senate debates climate legislation that could reinvent the country's energy infrastructure, it is richly ironic that lawmakers who consider themselves rock-ribbed fiscal conservatives are among the strongest backers of nuclear plants -- a vastly expensive, inefficient and dangerous source of energy that requires massive taxpayer bailouts. Senate Republicans and many moderate Democrats are seeking to lard up prospective climate and energy bills with billions of dollars in loan guarantees and other subsidies for nuclear power, even though it makes no sense as a solution to climate change and is a terrible option from an economic, environmental and national-security standpoint.