Key senators, industry officials, senior advisers and cabinet members met yesterday with President Obama to talk about the upcoming Climate and Energy Bill. The bill has been largely put aside by Congress in favor of passing Healthcare legislation and yesterday’s meetings were an attempt by President Obama to get the bill moving. The talks highlighted the simple reason the bill is stalled: the Democrats are largely for a Climate and Energy bill and the majority of Republicans want to leave the “Climate” part out of it — mainly any kind of carbon capping or taxing legislation.
The authors of the Bill, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are gearing up for a week of meetings with Congresspeople from both parties to explain their as of yet unrevealed plan for a price on greenhouse gas emissions. They need 60 votes to pass the bill and are hoping to do some convincing this week. Obama called meetings yesterday to stress the fact that he wants the “Climate” to remain a large issue in this bill. The issues of Energy and Climate Change go hand and hand and need to be addressed at once. Republicans are taking a stand against cap and trade — allocating permits to polluters and allowing them to trade to others for cash — or a carbon tax — a straight tax on emissions — stating that they would hinder, not help the economy. They also claim low public support for the capping or taxing of emissions.
Most of the news media is calling any inclusion of a price on carbon emissions impossible but it’s clear that the authors of the bill, along with President Obama are forging ahead with their proposals on emissions. Senator Graham noted on Tuesday that Obama deserves credit for including nuclear power and clean coal technology in his proposal — both seen as mostly right wing causes.
Now the right needs to give a little and realize that with every ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere the American people and the Earth at large pay a price. It’s time to have the polluters pay a fine for the degradation of the environment they are causing and thus push green energy into a new realm. If we keep pollution cheap and green energy pricey we’re going to get nowhere. This bill needs to include a carbon tax or cap in order to truly make progress.