The big news today is that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has joined with McCain and Lieberman to re-introduce a bill to cap carbon dioxide emissions.

The targets aren’t all that ambitious — it would slow the rise of CO2 emissions, cutting them two-thirds from present levels by 2050 — but the bill is nonetheless expected to meet fierce resistance from all the usual dinosaurs. It sounds like its main purpose is to push the edge so that Bingaman can get his softer bill passed as a compromise.

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All this, assessed purely as a response to global warming, amounts to pissing in the wind. But that’s not necessarily the way to assess it. They’re playing the long game, trying to take a bit of territory at a time. Next time legislation comes up, the edge can get pushed farther. Breaking the impasse is the key goal now.

Despite his lamentable support of clean coal, if Obama’s name and fame can get the emissions-cap ball rolling, he may well worm his way back into my good graces. Perhaps I shouldn’t sell out for so little. Perhaps I should wait for the Third Party Unicorn Pony Policy. But right now I’m in the mood to take what I can get.

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