Senate Democrats May Pull Climate Bill

Lieberman and WarnerWeek’s Debate Has Been Contentious

By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin

If this week’s Senate debate on a proposed cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for climate legislation, things are not looking too good for opening night.

The week has been marked by parliamentary maneuvers and bitter accusations over divergent estimates of the bill’s future costs. On Wednesday, a group of GOP senators asked that the clerk of the Senate read the entire 491-page bill aloud, an extremely rare request. That took more than 10 hours.

Although parliamentary maneuvers could still extend the debate into next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) faced the prospect of failure in a bid to end debate on amendments to the climate bill this morning. In that event, he was expected to seek withdrawal of the entire measure, to the relief of some Democrats from coal-producing or heavy industrial states.

“We are going to have Democrats voting to end debate on what they call the most important issue facing the planet and Republicans voting to continue debate on it,” said Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Some Democrats were worried yesterday that the GOP might try to block withdrawal of the legislation to prolong a debate that many Democrats think no longer works to their political benefit. Republicans have pounced on the high price of gasoline and have stressed that the climate legislation, by introducing a price on carbon dioxide emissions, would further raise the price of gas along with that of all other fossil fuels.

James M. Inhofe (Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement, “Now Democrats are on record as supporting legislation that would significantly increase prices at the pump and in our homes.”

Read the rest of this article at the Washington Post.

2 Responses to Senate Democrats May Pull Climate Bill

  1. Rob N. Hood June 11, 2008 at 8:48 am #

    On the other hand-

    updated 3:26 p.m. CT, Tues., June. 10, 2008

    Rapid Arctic sea ice loss could triple the rate of warming over northern Alaska, Canada and Russia and trigger permafrost thawing that unleashes extremely potent greenhouse gases, according to a new study.
    “Our study suggests that, if sea ice continues to contract rapidly over the next several years, Arctic land warming and permafrost thaw are likely to accelerate,” lead author David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said in a statement.
    “The loss of sea ice can trigger widespread changes that would be felt across the region,” added co-author Andrew Slater, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
    Arctic sea ice extent shrank to a record low last summer, more than 30 percent below average, while air temperatures over land in the western Arctic were unusually warm from August to October — reaching more than 4 degrees F above average.
    Researchers used a climate model to study whether the two events were related, and found that when sea ice melts quickly, the rate of Arctic land warming is 3.5 times greater than the average 21st century warming rates predicted in climate models.
    “While this warming is largest over the ocean, the simulations suggest that it can penetrate as far as 900 miles inland,” NCAR said in the statement. “The simulations also indicate that the warming acceleration during such events is especially pronounced in autumn. The decade during which a rapid sea-ice loss event occurs could see autumn temperatures warm by as much as 9 degrees F along the Arctic coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada.”
    The experts then used the model to determine that in areas where permafrost is already at risk, such as central Alaska, a period of abrupt sea-ice loss could lead to rapid and long-term soil thaw.
    A worst-case scenario would be thawing that unleashes vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.
    Thawing could also destabilize oil installations and other infrastructure. Parts of Alaska, Canada and Russia have already seen buckled roads, sunken homes and “drunken forests” of trees leaning at wild angles.
    “An important unresolved question is how the delicate balance of life in the Arctic will respond to such a rapid warming,” Lawrence said. “Will we see, for example, accelerated coastal erosion, or increased methane emissions, or faster shrub encroachment into tundra regions if sea ice continues to retreat rapidly?”
    The study, which will be published Friday in Geophysical Research Letters, was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

  2. Dan McGrath June 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    The more people turn away from global warming alarmism, the more dire the predictions become. MSNBC is still a mouthpiece for socialism veiled in environmentalism. So far, none of the terrible consequences predicted have come true, and the new decade-long reprieve from warming we’re now hearing about is pretty conveniently timed with all the predictions about this decade thus far falling flat on their face, huh?

    It all reminds me of the fringe preachers predicting the date of the end of the world, then when we’re all still here after that date, they “reevaluate” and pick a new date for the apocalypse.

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