Though overshadowed--for the moment--by the vociferous health care reform proceedings, you can bet that the going will get tough for the Senate energy reform and climate bill in no time. Attacks are bound to pour in: from multimillion dollar TV ad campaigns by big oil, to more outlandish claims about the bill's costs, to who knows what else. But Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), one of the bill's staunch defenders, has some ideas on how best to ward off such assaults--by sticking to the truth.And keeping it simple. "It's a choice between clean air and dirty air," Merkley said to a small group of writers, thought leaders, and nonprofit groups assembled in DC. It's a choice between investing money here or sending a billion dollars a day overseas for oil, he said. It's a choice between developing innovative products here, or having to buy them from other countries.
Merkley broke the bill down to the basics, and his message rang true--regardless of how worried people are about global warming (or not worried), it's important to consider that the climate bill simply opens a path to energy independence. And thus, is a huge boost to national security. Both of which, of course, are purely bipartisan goals. Not to mention the innovation it will spur and the boost clean energy could give to the economy.
And concerning global warming, Markley isn't put off by the skeptics--and he recognizes that there's a bigger gap between scientists and the American public on the subject of global warming than there is on any other subject. But that's no reason to lose hope, he says.
Just go to any college campus, he says. Students are mobilizing to deal with the problem, and they, perhaps more than anyone, understand the issue. They "realize that global warming is a challenge they're going to live their lives with," Markley said.
He concluded his talk by saying that both Kerry and Boxer (the bill's authors) should be applauded for pushing climate and energy issues at such a turbulent time.