A climate bill with a mandatory cap on U.S. CO2 emissions cleared a significant hurdle yesterday. America’s Climate Security Act, cosponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman …
Barbara Boxer is, of course, glowing:
It took nine and a half hours of chipping away at a seemingly infinite stream of amendments -- some positive, some poison-pills -- but the Senate Environment and Public Works committee favorably reported Joe Lieberman and John Warner's greenhouse gas bill, America's Climate Security Act, today. The process wasn't easy. Republicans came armed with about 150 amendments, some of which were so toxic and clearly non-passable that it appeared they were simply trying to obstruct or derail the proceedings altogether. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, aware that the amendment avalanche would take hours to overcome, called the Senate floor to order at noon, two and a half hours later than usual, to help the bill along. It was a procedural move, designed to buy the committee time lest Republicans take advantage of a rule that would have allowed them to derail the entire proceeding. Perhaps thanks to Reid's maneuvering, that never came to pass. Unfortunately, neither did a handful of extremely important amendments -- introduced by Senators Clinton and Sanders -- that would have strengthened ACSA enough to please dark greens, a constituency that has thus far been unimpressed with the bill's wide array of compromise measures. At the end of a very long day, though, there were only a couple of surprises. That the bill passed was expected; that the bill was only modestly improved was expected; that Hillary Clinton didn't show up was expected. What wasn't expected -- at least at the outset -- was that the whole process would go so smoothly. Yes, it took an extremely long time, but in the end, the minority withdrew or didn't introduce most of their amendments, and they never overtly attempted to derail the proceedings, allowing the process to be completed within one day. Then there was the other big surprise: Sen. Bernie Sanders voted to report the legislation favorably out of the committee.
Update: Fred Thompson dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 22, 2008. Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from …
"I now move that S.2192, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007, be reported favorably." And here's the roll call: 11 Yeahs: Baucus Boxer Cardin Carper Clinton by proxy Klobuchar Lautenberg by proxy Lieberman Sanders by proxy Warner Whitehouse 8 Nays: Alexander Barrasso Bond by proxy Craig Inhofe Isakson Vitter Voinovich A full roundup will be forthcoming.
Senator Lieberman also opposes Sanders' amendment -- which just failed -- to allow the EPA to strengthen the cap if the law-as-passed proves insufficiently effective.
This is a big one. Sanders No. 4 would make the goal of the bill to reduce emissions by 80 (as opposed to about 70) percent by 2050. As the bill is written, the reductions in Lieberman-Warner (under the cap, and otherwise) don't meet the mark. Sanders says, "while it is fine that we reach a political agreement here, the scientific community is telling us that the agreement we are reaching here does not do the job that has to be done." Lieberman, by contrast, says, "I don't think we can get the bill out of the committee with 80 percent." Perhaps he might have taken a moment to consider whether this amendment -- an aspirational amendment -- could have passed if he, the bill's author, had supported it. Instead, he opposed it, and the amendment failed. Meanwhile, Lieberman jokingly referred to his success in a college science class he referred to as "geology and astrology [sic] ... rocks and stars". This is the guy writing our climate legislation.
You may have heard about the Fossil Awards given at the United Nations Bali climate negotiations. A collaboration between a number of youth delegations and Avaaz.org, the awards are given to nations whose delegates have obstructed progress during the course of the talks. Here's a first-hand account of the first daily Fossil Awards ceremony, when Canada won the infamous prize. Yesterday, Japan managed to win first, second, and third place for threatening to pull out of the Kyoto protocol. Check out this video of the ceremony:
Sanders' amendment -- Sanders #3 -- would have required CCS-equipped plants to sequester at least 85 percent of their pollution in order to be eligible for additional free allowances. That's what the bill used to mandate, before it was changed earlier this month. Sanders tried to change it back and was voted down with 13 "nays," including one from his usual ally Barbara Boxer. Sanders' support of this bill may be irrelevant to its passage through committee. But if snubs like this aren't enough to convince him to continue to oppose Lieberman-Warner, it will be a sign that deep greens have lost all support in the Senate.