Senate Agrees to Consider Climate Bill

As S. 3036, the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Bill easily moved forward in the Senate yesterday, one can’t help but look at the criticism being heaped on the bill. On the one hand, there are environmental groups criticizing the bill because it is not strong enough and lends itself to exploitation that could thwart the bill’s goals. On the other hand, there are those who criticize this bill because it is too strong and could raise energy prices at a time when they are already high. On a third hand there are those who criticize the bill because it is too complex, and that a simple carbon tax provides the same incentives to reduce emissions without the excessive bureaucracy. On yet a fourth hand, there are those who oppose the bill because they believe the very purpose of the bill to be the product of some sort of elaborate hoax. Of course, there are as many variations of these criticisms as there are degrees on a compass.

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The White House, for its part, falls under the “we should do something, but not this” banner. Bush has said that he would veto the bill if it made it to his desk, which made me furrow my brow when I heard it. One the one hand, you have Bush saying that he believes something should be done to fight global warming. On the other hand, you have a bill introduced by a Republican (Warner-VA) and an Independent (Lieberman-CT) that he says he will veto.

How does it affect American credibility when, in Sweden, Secretary Rice assures the Prime Minister that the U.S. is “thoroughly committed to dealing with the problems of greenhouse gas emissions, of climate change and of their human dimension,” and then Mr. Reinfeldt sees that this same administration promises to block legislation that was initiated on the subject from its own side of the aisle? My guess is “inte bra.”

Despite all this criticism, however, the Senate voted 74-14 to move forward with the bill. Many believe the bill will never be passed, but, if nothing else, it signals that most in the Senate are willing to talk about the issue, and hopefully this will help lay the groundwork for a future administration that will fight global warming despite its relative convenience for the summer driving season.