If you’ve been as overwhelmed with holiday stuff as we have, perhaps you haven’t been able to keep on top of the recent avalanche of climate news. I had hoped to do deeper (and timelier) analysis of this stuff, but perhaps people will like the capsule version better anyway:
Bali climate conference
High drama at the UN conference in Bali: U.S. obstructionism; boos and hisses in the gallery; searing scientific reports; an impassioned speech from a Nobel-toting Al Gore; an enchanted jade monkey; and a final breakthrough when the U.S. semi-capitulated on language around emissions reductions.*
Verdict: Thumbs up! The conference lays out a workable framework for creating a Kyoto successor treaty in 2009, when a new U.S. administration will be in place.
Despite having the support of a majority of senators, a decent energy bill couldn’t overcome a threatened filibuster. As a result, the renewable energy requirements were stripped out, and the oil industry will continue receiving billions in tax breaks. The CAFE increases remain.
Verdict: Depressing! So close on this one. The stakes are now raised for 2009, when a new Senate will hopefully restore the excised provisions.
Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act
With the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s seal of approval, the Senate will for the first time consider credible legislation to put a cap on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first step in what will be drawn-out process, but it is a historic moment.
Verdict: Hopeful! Lieberman-Warner doesn’t contain everything environmentalists want, but it is definitely moves us significantly closer to the promised land. Stakes are now raised for 2009.
* There was no enchanted jade monkey at the Bali conference…as far as I know.