The 7 Things That Killed the Climate Bill
Image via Reuters
3. Fossil Fuel Interests
When making lists like these, you always run into chicken-or-egg problems, and nothing exemplifies this more than the role of fossil fuel interests in crushing climate legislation. Without Big Coal and Oil, who knows where the GOP or 'moderate' Democrats would stand -- the power and economic weight that the fossil fuel industries throw around have a funny way of changing politicians' opinions.
That said, those politicians ostensibly have an obligation to act in the interests of their constituents -- and their constituents' children and grandchildren -- so the blame rests ultimately on them for scuttling the climate bill. Regardless, fossil fuel industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute and various coal groups did their damnedest to twist politicians' arms and to convince the public that climate legislation would doom the nation's economy. With faux grassroots campaigns and town hall meetings and a number of other even dirtier tricks, they're largely to blame for instilling the aura of fear and uncertainty into the debate, making centrists and Republicans reluctant to even speak the words cap and trade.
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2. Centrist and Coal State Democrats
Sharing almost as much blame as our Numero Uno climate bill killers, these so-called 'moderate' Democrats were nearly just as bad as Republicans in refusing to cooperate in drafting or supporting climate action. Fears that supporting the legislation would hurt their election chances, these Democrats (who include Mary Landrieu [D-LA], Ben Nelson [D-NE], and Blance Lincoln [D-AK) were, in a word, spineless. They made a counterproductive laundry list of excuses and demands that made agreeing upon good legislation impossible.
Photo via a Green Living
1. The GOP
Yes, the immediate and most direct cause of the climate bill's demise was the Grand ol' Party. With the exception of Lindsey Graham (for a while anyway) Republicans were unwilling to lift a finger to assist energy reform efforts. They immediately adopted the 'cap and tax' or 'energy tax' slogans and set about distorting the impacts of the legislation, sensing an opportunity to stymie Democrats' plans.
Furthermore, most GOPers still traffic in the 'we need more information on climate change before we act' vein -- or worse, flat out deny that it's an issue. Their absolute, unified-party obstructionism made bipartisan legislating impossible. Shame on the GOP for adopting such a pointedly anti-science, morally corrupt line to score political points -- but shame on the Democrats and the White House for bowing to their tactics.