This was supposed to be a big week
for action on climate change in the Senate — but it’s ending with
Republicans rubbing their hands in glee as the Environment and Public
Works Committee delays its unveiling of legislation on carbon emissions.
As Reuters reports this afternoon:
[Environment committee chairman] Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said her self-imposed deadline of early August for finishing writing a
bill to combat global warming has been put off until after Congress
returns from a recess that ends in early September.
"We’ll do it as soon as we get back" from that break, Boxer told
reporters. Asked if this delay jeopardizes chances the Senate will pass
a bill this year, Boxer said, "Not a bit … we’ll be in (session)
until Christmas, so I’m not worried about it."
But Boxer did not guarantee Congress will be able to finish a bill
and deliver it to Obama by December, when he plans to attend an
international summit on climate change in Copenhagen.
postponement of a climate debate in her committee may well be an
acknowledgment of the challenge lawmakers are facing to rustle up that
$20 billion by month’s end — especially given that House
transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is refusing to budge on his commitment to a new transportation bill this year. The delay in climate may also be driven by the uncertainty surrounding a global pact on emissions reduction.
No matter what, however, the environmental news out of the Senate today is not good.