Nov 1, 2009

Political Delays in Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill by Republicans

Things aren’t looking pretty for the climate-change bill being spearheaded by the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. According to Reuters, all Republicans in the team plan to boycott the next meeting, in an attempt to hinder the progress made so far by the Democrats. The bill, known as Kerry-Boxer’s Bill, is certainly controversial and the opposition is now openly creating obstacles.

Even if some Republicans want to show up, they won’t be allowed, which means the meeting cannot be held and voting cannot commence. So much for democracy.

Climate-Bill views of the Republicans and Democrats 

The Democrats want to pass the bill as soon as possible, with President Obama’s full support, but the Republicans want the EPA to conduct ‘greater economic analysis’, which would lengthen their boycott to a month. This divide is not a new phenomenon. Previously, under the presidency of George W. Bush, the Republicans failed to pass any substantial climate bills claiming global warming was not a real threat, despite mounting evidence. This confusion evidently affected EPA’s activities too because the agency has only recently started accepting global warming as a concern.

What is the Kerry-Boxer’s Climate Change Bill?

The Kerry-Boxer’s bill, created by Barbara Boxer (chairwoman of the senate committee) and John Kerry, is a climate change bill that requires manufactures ‘reduce their carbon emission by 20 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels’.There are possible downsides of the bill too. The Republicans want more analysis because they believe the bill would:
  • increase unemployment because manufactures will be encouraged to shift to countries with fewer carbon controls
Why this delay is worrisome

The Democrats want the bill approved, regardless of voting, before December when the UN Climate Change Summit will take place in Copenhagen. Since USA’s position in world politics is dominant, a domestic climate treaty is vital if talks in Denmark are to be successful. Otherwise, this will simply make a universal climate treaty improbable in December.

However, voting may still be an issue. The last bill passed by the U.S House of Representatives in June, which called for a reduction in CO2 emissions, had difficulty garnering a majority because senators were divided about whether global warming is real and whether it’s a threat. And the situation hasn’t changed much since then. In fact, a recent study showed that fewer people believe in the idea of global warming now, despite greater evidence.

All this means that American needs to pull up its socks and use some of its power to move climate talks in the right direction. This is certainly not the time for petty political skirmishes.

Sources: Reuters, NY Times, WJS, Web Wombat (Image)
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