Obama Pep Talk Puts Major Climate Bill on the Fast Track


Photo via the Minister

The Democrat's major climate and energy bill has languished in subcommittee for weeks—casting an ill shadow on the future of US climate policy. There's been arguing, disagreement, and party infighting over how to move the bill forward, and next to nothing has been finalized. Nonetheless, the bill's sponsor Rep. Henry Waxman just met with Obama, and now says he plans on meeting his deadline of getting it done by Memorial Day—even if it means fast tracking the bill and skipping further hearings and pissing off its opponents.Waxman evidently made the statement after a meeting with Obama about the stalled bill with a couple dozen other congressmen. Obama urged them to make compromises and to find a way forward, though he kept his suggestions vague. Ten or more Democrats currently have problems with the bill—they want to find a way to prevent costs to industries like steel, coal, and oil from rising. Which of course is next to impossible in any effective carbon capping system—and rightfully so. Polluting industries will have to pay for their pollution after all. Sort of the entire idea.

One thing they can all agree on? The controversial-to-green-but-apparently-not-so-much-to-congressmen so called "Cash for Clunkers" program.

The New York Times puts it best:

That "cash for clunkers" subsidy is intended to increase vehicle sales, prop up the faltering American auto industry and make the nation's car and truck fleet marginally more efficient.

"Marginally" more efficient is right.
So perhaps the least significant and even potentially environmentally damaging part's done—and as for the rest of the bill? Expect weeks more of squabbling, perhaps another appearance by Gore, and some more off base remarks by Newt Gingrich before it hits the floor of Congress at the end of May.

And just because the bill is being fast tracked doesn't mean its chances of passing have improved—it still faces what so far seems to be a likely death in the Senate (due to similar industry concerns from Dems and GOP alike), despite the Democratic majority. Let's hope this massive energy reform and climate action bill can pick up some momentum, or reach some consensus soon—lest it go the way of the ill-fated Lieberman-Warner bill, RIP.

The bill's measures are such a solid step in the right direction, it'd be a huge shame if everybody couldn't just get along. You know, just this once.

More on Climate Bill:
Climate Bill Battle Heats Up — This Could Get Ugly
Obama on Climate Bill: "We Will Get It Done. And I Will Sign It."

Tags: Barack Obama | Congress | Economics | Global Warming Solutions