Under Threat of Republican Obstruction, Reid Abandons Climate Push

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 27 Jul 2010 15:13:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Climate deniersAs Washington, D.C. wilts in the global heat wave gripping the planet, the Democratic leadership in the Senate has abandoned the effort to cap global warming pollution for the foreseeable future, unwilling to test a Republican filibuster. Instead of testing the hypocrisy of climate peacocks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will instead attempt to pass a limited bill with new energy incentives and oil reduction policies next week. The decision was formally made at a meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus Wednesday. After the meeting, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), whose efforts to craft comprehensive climate legislation had foundered, focused on the challenge of overcoming a filibuster:

But we’ve always known from day one, that in order to pass comprehensive energy/climate legislation, you’ve got to reach 60 votes, and to reach those 60 votes, you’ve got have some Republicans. And as we stand here today, we do not have one Republican. I think that it’s possible to get there.

It is the ninth day of the latest 90-plus heat wave to hit Washington DC, part of the global heat wave caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Former vice president Al Gore responded to the announcement with a cold reminder of the realities the Senate has not confronted:

The need to solve the climate crisis and transition to clean energy has never been more clear. The oil is still washing up on the shores of the Gulf Coast and we’ve just experienced the hottest six months on record. Our troops are fighting and dying in the Middle East and our economy is still struggling to produce jobs. I continue to urge the President to provide leadership on this issue and urge the Senate to make this issue a priority for the remainder of this Congress. Ultimately – and sooner rather than later – these issues simply must be dealt with. Our national security, our economic recovery and the future of the United States of America – and indeed the future of human civilization on this Earth – depends on our country taking leadership. And that, in turn, depends on the United States Senate acting. The truth about the climate crisis—inconvenient as ever—must be faced.