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Senators do not go gently...


The exciting news that climate change legislation made it out the Senate’s environment and public works committee last December has met its first standoff. Set to hit the Senate floor for debate in June, the Climate Security Act put forth by Lieberman and Warner has (not surprisingly) drawn criticism and possible amendments that would drag it down like anchors off a ship.

Top among those is the so-called “safety valve,” which would set a ceiling on the price of carbon and allow emitters to get as many extra allowances as they needed (meaning there’s no limit on how much CO2 they could emit).  

 In defense of the bill, during a press conference last week, chair of the committee Barbara Boxer made these foreboding comments:

“If the bill is weakened, two things will happen: We will hold those who weakened it accountable in November. And we will pull the bill and bring back the legislation after we have a new Congress and a new President.”

 After quoting Dylan Thomas’s famous villanelle, “Do not go gentle into that good night” she closed her prepared speech with the comment:

“Let me say that I have no intention of going gently into the night until we have addressed global warming.”

These fighting words came two days before the release of a new EPA analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill that has both sides—those for and against the legislation—citing the analysis to defend their arguments. The Wall Street Journal summed it up like this:

“The leading congressional proposal to control greenhouse-gas emissions could be implemented without significantly harming the nation's economic growth over the next two decades, according to an analysis published Friday by the Bush administration.

But the analysis also gives ammunition to critics of the proposal. It predicts gasoline prices and electric prices would rise more rapidly if the government implemented the proposed caps on carbon-dioxide emissions.”

It’s true prices will rise. But the solution to higher prices is greater efficiency in gas mileage and use of electricity – a significant part of the plan critics of the bill seem to be sailing over (as if raging against the dying of the light).