Climate progress under attack

The people who feel that the climate change legislation working its way through congress isn’t sufficiently awesome to merit their support sometimes contend that no progress would be preferable to incremental progress. If we just hold out, a much better bill is surely just around the bend. What folks rarely seem to consider is that there’s another possibility: rapid backsliding.

All across the land, the meager gains made to date are under ferocious attack. In the senate, Republican Lisa Murkowski has been trying valiantly to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Murkowski caught some flack when it was revealed that an amendment she was preparing had actually been written by lobbyists representing polluters. The following video adequately conveys my surprise at this revelation:

Why even pretend at outrage over this? *Obviously* polluting industries are behind efforts to remove curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. What difference does it make whether the lobbyists write the bills themselves, or just dictate their contents to senate staffers? Fans of bipartisanship will be heartened to know that three Democratic senators have signed on to Murkowski’s efforts. And though she is unlikely to succeed legislatively, her real goal is to make EPA regulations as politically toxic as possible.

Meanwhile, as congress dithers, more attention is being paid to regional efforts to curb greenhouse gases. The most comprehensive of these by far is California’s AB 32, scheduled to go into effect in 2012. Recently a consortium called — wait for it — the “AB 32 Implementation Group” got together to make sure AB 32 never gets implemented. Who belongs to the consortium? Glad you asked:

> The chief sponsors of the Implementation Group are the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the California Chamber of Commerce. One prominent member, the Western States Petroleum Association, is a trade organization for companies such as BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Tesoro and Valero.

The California governor’s race is currently rated a toss-up, which means that Republican candidate Meg Whitman stands a reasonable shot of making good on her promise to push back AB 32 by at least a year.

To recap: Democrats are widely expected to get trounced in the mid-term election; political support for climate change legislation is softening; and polluting industries are continuing their full-scale attack on the gains that have already been made. Please explain to me again why I’m supposed to be concerned about Goldman Sachs?

Author Bio



  1. bob fulford - January 27, 2010

    Surely the people and groups working to thwart green house gas control know what “we” know. Surely they know the eventual impact on our lives, our environment and our world. Can they be so greedy that they just want to get “theirs” before it’s too late.
    Who are these people? Did they have mothers?

  2. Keith - January 27, 2010

    Bob, I don

  3. Doug - January 27, 2010

    Well I am pretty sure it is greed. And protection of market share and some arrogance mixed in for good measure. It is what a company, reporting to stockholders does and will do forever and ever. It is the government’s job to frame this debate and the administration needs to show leadership in this area.
    The Democrats got voted in because we are all tired of having the plans of corporations be the cause of this country (and a lot of their plans were pretty dumb – like the stuff the MIT rocket Scientists turned financial experts came up with. Not only that it is also a pretty soulless existence). The administration needs to flip things around and make the plans of the nation be the cause of corporations – like when NASA had the plan to go to the moon and the job of the corporation was to help get it done.
    Corporations today remind me of undisciplined children. Its like they act as if they are the leader of the pack when actually they need to learn to behave and follow what the pack leader needs them to do. In the end they will be better for it and so will we.

  4. Noah Outland - February 18, 2010

    What we have been hearing for a long time now that the leaders of the parties have lost connections with the Public. The leadership we have now state pick a position. I don’t want to pick one side or another. I would rather pick a individual that thinks in the comparable values that I believe in and I genuinely don’t give a flying **** what political party he/she belongs to. If it doesn’t fit don’t buy it. That’s as elementary as can be.