March 11, 2010
This week, China and India alerted the United Nations that they would associate with the Copenhagen Accord, joining 108 other nations that already have done so and making up over 80% of global emissions. There are now 79 countries that have yet to comment on the accord.
President Obama this week pressed senators of both parties to enact comprehensive climate and energy legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions. On Tuesday the president, joined by three cabinet members and the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, met at the White House with 14 senators and urged them to introduce a bill before the spring recess starts on March 26. The offices of the three senators at the center of the legislative negotiations – John Kerry of Massachusetts, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut – said a proposal is close to completion and could be introduced by the end of the month.
The general framework of the bill has come into clearer focus in part because the president has insisted that the Senate find a way to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In return he pledged to promote measures to expand oil and gas production and nuclear power.
In an era when issues urgent to the nation’s well-being have been met by political stasis in Washington, the president’s meeting signals climate action and clean energy remain high priorities in the White House. What’s not as clear yet is whether the agreement the president hopes to broker – fossil fuel and nuclear development in exchange for a price on carbon and clean energy investments – is a winning formula in and outside the Senate.
Economists and Scientists Send Letter
This week Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat of New Mexico, moved to help break the legislative stalemate when he joined three prominent scientists at a news conference to deliver a letter to the U.S. Senate. It called “on our nation’s leaders to swiftly establish and implement policies to bring about deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions.”
The letter, signed by 2,000 scientists and economists, including eight Nobel laureates, added: “The strength of the science on climate change compels us to warn the nation about the growing risk of irreversible consequences as global average temperatures continue to increase over pre-industrial levels (i.e., prior to 1860). As temperatures rise further, the scope and severity of global warming impacts will continue to accelerate.“
Earth Day Plans
Environmental organizations this week also made public their plans for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day next month. The Earth Day Network plans a day of action on April 22 and a big rally three days later on the National Mall in Washington. Leaders of another coalition signed an Earth Day Declaration on the west lawn of the Capitol that demanded action on clean energy and climate in the Senate, an event that launched 40 days of action leading up to Earth Day.
Until next week take care, Keith Schneider