Will the U.S. Climate Bill Make it Through the Senate?

Faced with a faltering economy, fatigue over the health care fight, and the prospect of congressional elections this November, proponents of a carbon cap-and-trade bill in the U.S. Senate face high hurdles when Congress returns from its winter recess next week.

The Obama administration and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the lead author on the climate bill, insist that they are proceeding with plans to pass climate and energy legislation this year.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last fall that would put a price and a cap on carbon. But some political analysts say that with the political environment shifting against the Democrats, the most that Congress may accomplish is to pass an energy bill that stimulates development of renewable sources of energy, nuclear power, and offshore drilling, while shelving plans for a cap-and-trade plan.

With prospects for a climate bill in doubt, environmental and industry groups are stepping up political pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has said that it will begin regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Meanwhile, Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. chamber of Commerce, has said that his organization might launch a legal challenge to the EPA’s effort to regulate CO2 emissions. Prospects for such a maneuver succeeding, however, are slim, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA has the right to regulate greenhouse gases as a threat to human health.

Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environmen 360

photo: vassego

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