The 7 Things That Killed the Climate Bill
Image via Inhabitat
The news that reverberated around the web yesterday was hardly unexpected -- the climate bill, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally announced was officially dead, was on its way out for a long time. But that doesn't make its final departure any less devastating. In light of its passage let's look at what it is, exactly, that killed it. Here the 7 primary factors that contributed to its demise, plain and simple.
Screenshot of Fox News
7. The Media
The media has done a woeful job of conveying to the public the severity of the threat that climate change presents. Preferring to focus on dramatic narratives like so-called 'Climate Gate', insubstantial errors in the IPCC reports, and the political horse races surrounding climate action, most media outlets' actual coverage of climate change has recently been so lacking that the public has lost touch with the urgency of the issue.
Even the New York Times, which consistently runs fantastic op-eds on the subject, can't seem to run a solid story about the actual impacts of global warming. Without the necessary information about the topic, the public can't be expected to hold its elected officials' feet to the fire to do something about it -- and all this stands without even mentioning the willfully counterproductive "news" outlets like Fox News, who push the propaganda that global warming is simply a hoax. Until the media gets serious about covering climate change -- and how efforts to address it would actually work -- the public will likely remain passive about the issue, and about our nation's bleak energy future. By not doing its job, the media helped kill the climate bill.
6. US Chamber of Commerce
The USCC has obstructed progress on climate change legislation unabashedly from the beginning. Their stance was so backwards-looking (at one point, the president called for a "Scopes Monkey Trial" for climate change) that businesses began leaving the organization in droves. That, however, wasn't enough to change the organization's incredible influence in the policy sphere, and didn't stop them from encouraging the unfounded notion that climate legislation would be bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for the American energy consumer.
5. Archaic Filibuster Rules
There are an easy 53+ votes for climate legislation in the Senate. That's a majority where I come from. So how come Democrats were afraid to even bring the bill to a vote? The ol' Senate filibuster rules, of course -- they state that unless a party can muster 60 votes to break it, either party can filibuster away an ol' piece of legislation. There's been much talk of reforming this archaic rule, which many view as an affront to democracy. Expect that talk to grow louder now.
Image via the NY Times
4. Barack Obama
Okay, so Obama didn't kill the climate bill. But he failed even to put it on life support. He failed to link the disastrous BP Gulf spill to energy policy. He failed to make the case for energy reform to the American people. He failed to get behind climate legislation. And sometimes, failing to help legislation you've promised to back is pretty similar to letting it die.