Senate Climate Bill Delayed - Why That's Not Such a Bad Thing

capitol building photo

photo: Rob Crawley via flickr

First the Senate climate bill was postponed until after their summer recess, now it's being delayed by Ted Kennedy's death, John Kerry's hip surgery and health care debate. The new goal for introducing the Kerry-Boxer climate bill is "later in September". Here's the official statement from Sens. Boxer and Kerry:

The Kerry-Boxer bill is moving along well and we are looking forward to introducing legislation that will create millions of clean energy jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and ensure American leadership in the clean energy economy.

Because of Senator Kennedy’s recent passing, Senator Kerry’s August hip surgery, and the intensive work on health care legislation particularly on the Finance Committee where Sen. Kerry serves, Majority Leader Reid has agreed to provide some additional time to work on the final details of our bill, and to reach out to colleagues and important stakeholders. We have told the Majority Leader that our goal is to introduce our bill later in September.

Surely not intending to belittle the seriousness of these other issues, undoubtedly there are many climate change watchers for whom no delay is acceptable. I normally count myself among those people -- mostly based on the fact that the US going to Copenhagen with a completed (and, fingers crossed, much strengthened) climate bill sends a much more powerful message than "we're working on it."

Delay Gives Greens Time to Better Frame the Debate
That said, Climate Progress makes a good point as to why delaying the bill isn't such a bad idea.

There's a point-by-point breakdown over at CP which is worth reading, but the gist is basically that the Obama administration, the Senate, and (I'd add...) those of us in the green community, can hopefully learn from the opposition to health care reform and develop a new way of framing the climate bill so as to avoid getting bogged down in public shouting matches and disinformation campaigns.

Global Climate Change
Revealed: 5 "Grassroots" Groups Funded by Dirty Energy
US Must Have a Climate Bill Before December's UN Climate Talks: Agriculture & Commerce Secretaries
Just Getting a Climate Bill Out of Committee by December a Good Start: Sen. John Kerry

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