Today in E&E Daily (sub. only), there’s a chipper piece from Darren Samuelsohn about the prospects for action on climate change in the 110th Congress. Look, how exciting!
The 2006 election outcome may be less than a week old, but the pieces have started coming together for how the next Congress will tackle the global warming issue.
"Clearly, it’s a sea change," said Emily Figdor of U.S. PIRG. "For the first time in a long time, Congress can finally get down to the business of what’s happening."
Incoming Senate EPW Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said last week she would take a lead role for the Democrats. Speaking with reporters, Boxer said she plans to use California’s new global warming law — requiring a statewide cut of emissions of 25 percent by 2020 — as a model in the drafting of federal climate legislation.
But a few paragraphs later:
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chairman-to-be of the Energy & Commerce Committee, signaled last week that his climate change approach would be heavy on oversight hearings.
"Dingell is likely going to take his time about this. He’s a very thorough member," said David Conover, a former Energy Department official and former Republican staff director to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Yeah, thorough. Sigh.
Then again, the tide could rise around Dingell:
Multiple members and committees are sure to be involved in the debate beyond Boxer, Dingell and Waxman. Former Hill aides suggest watching the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, as well as the House and Senate Agriculture, Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Commerce, House Resources and House Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
"When you talk in terms of global warming or climate, while there’s a rush to say a hard carbon cap, or a cap and trade, there are many many parts of it," said Mark Menezes, former chief Republican counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee …
"And you see this with some of the announcements about use of renewables, increased energy efficiencies, fuel choices, etc. All of that plays a part," he said. "There’s no one thing. It’s extraordinarily broad in its outreach. So what you can see is a lot of activity in these different committees on things they have jurisdiction over all toward the goal of coming together in a bill that could have the result of being a climate bill."
A final bit of amusement :
For his part, Bush has pledged to work with the new Democrat-controlled Congress.
In a prepared statement issued the day after the midterm elections, Kristen Hellmer — a spokeswoman at the White House Council on Environmental Quality — said climate change is among the issues the president is open to discussing with Democrats. But she also said there will be limits on how far Bush will go.
"He is opposed to any program which shifts jobs and emissions overseas," Hellmer said.
You’ll pry our emissions from our cold, dead hands!