Reports Indicate Early Draft of Climate Bill Sucks

Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) met with industry groups Wednesday evening to discuss their much anticipated tripartisan climate legislation. Based on leaks from the meeting, it sounds like the climate bill will be incredibly industry friendly, which may mean that the bill does little to help the environment.

A syncing feeling

According to reports from sources in the meeting room, the bill calls for greenhouse gas curbs across multiple economic sectors, with a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Power plant emissions would be regulated in 2012, other major industrial sources will be phased in during 2016.

But the bill contains major concessions to the industry, according to Aaron Wiener at The Washington Independent. The senators’ proposal would halt dozens of state climate laws and regulations and preempt U.S. EPA climate regulations under the Clean Air Act.

As Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones:

The head lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Josten, told reporters after the meeting that he believes the bill will be ‘largely in sync’ with what most industry types would like to see. The Chamber, of course, has been one of the most formidable foes of climate legislation to date. In addition to the Chamber, the senators also met with the Edison Electric Institute, American Petroleum Institute, and Portland Cement Association.

A climate bill that syncs up with organizations opposed to climate legislation. Really? But, like Sheppard writes, although these leaks from the meeting don’t sound too great in terms of climate, “Kerry had already scaled back expectations on that front.”

The fears

Kerry, Graham and Lieberman have argued that an “energy-only” bill, which would focus on wider financial support for low-carbon energy projects, a national renewable electricity mandate, and allows wider oil-and-gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, among other measures, would be easier to pass than a comprehensive bill.

As David Roberts writes for Grist, this refers to the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA), which passed last year. But unlike the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) that passed the House, with substantial parts devoted to directly supporting clean energy and boosting energy efficiency, ACELA “sucks,” according to Roberts. He writes:

As a standalone bill, it does virtually nothing for renewables, boosts efficiency a middling amount, and dumps a bonanza of subsidies on offshore drilling, nuclear power, tar sands, oil shale, and natural gas. It also weakens the Renewable Fuel Standard. It’s a minor deviation from the awful energy status quo and would be a depressing end indeed to the year-long Obama-era effort to finally address America’s energy problems.

The real bill

Many details of the forthcoming legislation are still unclear, and the real bill isn’t expected to be released for another few weeks. Environmental groups who attended a meeting with Kerry yesterday to discuss details of the bill were close-mouthed about their reactions, and stressed that the bill is still in draft stages and may change significantly, as Sheppard writes at Mother Jones.

Let’s hope the final bill will offer real solutions to fight global warming and curb greenhouse gas emissions. National Radio Project talked with several climate change activists who discussed the steps needed to make significant change following the less-than-concrete outcomes from Copenhagen. It’s definitely worth a listen.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.

More from Care2 on Climate Change:


photo credit: thanks to Senor Codo via flickr
By Alison Hamm, Media Consortium blogger


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Parsifal AWAY S.
ParsifalAWAY S.5 years ago

Linda M:
I dunno if it makes sence commenting in a long deceased topic -
however, as you see, I came back sending some love greetings to you.
Have read your comments - OMG!

"oh, and thanks for thinking i'm both smart and funny. i actually prize myself on being a smartass."

Interesting self expression & self assessment Linda...

From this day on history books should consider "smart" as something absolutely different from what we knew to comply with "smart".


Parsifal AWAY S.
ParsifalAWAY S.5 years ago

Has anyone of you ever saved a planet?

Haaard toil!

But maybe our carbon tax will save Earth?

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat6 years ago


Michelle M.
Michelle M.6 years ago

So what if the glaciers are melting and the south pole gets so much snow that the penguins are being buried under it and freezing to death along with thier eggs and babies. So what if the ozone layer is nearly non-existant. The fact that southern song birds and insects are moving further and further north means nothing. As long as the oil men and and big industry is happy, that's what counts. We really do not need fresh air and clean water. Acid rain is good for us. Just ask the lobbiest. I just came home from the Italy and Tunisia and the pollution was not to be believed. Almost as bad as here. All I can say is I'm so glad I have no children. Our nation is run by a bunch of whimps who don't have the guts to do what needs to be done. It's much more fun to argue and point fingers and lie to each other than to actually do something constructive. I keep hearing "God is in control". It's sure good to know. It's for sure no one in Washington seems to be, except perhaps the lobbiest and the almighty dollar.

Dave C.
David C.6 years ago

thanks, the congressional debate on climate legislation should be fascinating as I am sure the non-believers who cannot see the other potential benefits of environmentalism will scream/cry/whine about how the country is being ruined.

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago

thanks for post