Congress Begins "Mother of All Climate Weeks"
Photo via the New York Times
Designed to coincide with Earth Day, Congress has begun three full days of hearings on climate and energy bills in the House and the Senate—according to Politico, it's the "mother of all climate weeks." A parade of 54 witnesses, including EPA head Lisa Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, trout fishermen, Catholic priests, green business leaders, and yes, Al Gore, will testify on global warming while Congress deliberates on the massive new climate bill that could launch a carbon cap and trade system as soon as next year. Whew. Mother of all climate weeks indeed.Ed Markey, one of the coauthors of the climate bill, is as excited as anyone. He recently called the EPA's decision that greenhouse gases are a pollutant "the most important decision in the history of environmental decisions."
He appears to be enthusiastic that the hearings will go well, too. From Politico:
"In my 33 years on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I cannot remember a week of hearings quite like this one," said Markey. "With so much at stake and such little time, I am pleased that our country's business, science and environmental leaders are lining up to engage in this historic week of hearings."
But businessmen and environmental leaders aren't the only ones getting in on the climate action: religious leaders and sportsmen are going to get their voices heard too.
Catholics Against Climate Change:
On Tuesday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and 12 national Catholic organizations will announce a major global warming campaign with ads targeted at key energy and commerce committee members in manufacturing states. The Catholic groups plan to send bulletin inserts and other materials to all American parishes and 6,150 Catholic elementary schools. The Catholic groups want to ensure that legislation includes safeguards for low-income consumers and poor communities worldwide.
Sportsmen Groups Against Global Warming:
On Wednesday, sportsmen's groups including Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership will join the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and environmental groups to call for Congress to pass global warming legislation that includes increased funding for natural resource protection.
It's going to be a packed week for Congress—and topping it all off is an appearance from Al Gore on Friday. Will this veritable carnival of climate talks yield any progress? We'll have to wait and see over the next few days . . .
More on Congress and Climate Change:
Flawed U.S. Senate Climate Bill Making the Rounds
Copenhagen Climate Congress to Synthesize New Science on Climate Change
Report: Now 4 Climate Change Lobbyists for Every Member of Congress