Thought the Senate climate bill was on hold all thanks to an ongoing three-day Republican boycott of Environment and Public Works Committee activity? Think again. Using some side-stepping parliamentary procedures, committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA), has managed to get the bill passed by a vote of 11-to-1, AFP reports:Republican Delay Duplicative, Waste of Money
Saying that the delay by Republicans, requesting further analysis of the economic impact of the bill, was unfounded based on EPA consultation and would be "duplicative and a waste of taxpayer dollars" Boxer pushed through the bill using a simple majority of committee members present, rather than the normal requirement of having two minority party members at the table.
Baucus Dissents, Calls Emission Reductions Too Ambitious
The lone vote against the bill was from Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who objected to the greenhouse gas emission reductions proposed in the bill -- 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 -- as being too ambitious.
Just to remind everyone, 20% from 2005 by 2020 is still well below IPCC-recommended reductions of 25-40% from 1990 levels in the same time period. Reductions below that amount are likely to result in global temperature rise exceeding 2°C. Which means, essentially, game over for a hospitable climate.
US Sloth Holds Up Global Deal
While this is certainly good news, the odds of the full Senate voting on the bill before the COP15 climate talks, which start of December 7th, remain remote. By all accounts, the slow action in the US getting a full climate bill enacted prior to the talks is one of the key factors (but not the only one...) holding up an international agreement.