It is undeniable that we need a climate bill to address the emissions that are causing global climate change. What is not so clear, however, is how to go about writing a law that is middle-ground enough to have a possibility of being passed -- without compromising its purpose.
Thanks in large part to the Gulf oil spill, Obama currently has a wonderful opportunity to push for a hard-line transformative climate bill that will drastically change the way our nation uses, taxes, and produces energy. However, he is facing a polarized congress that seems relatively inept in terms of agreeing on anything, and a economy that does not see many Americans supporting things like gasoline taxes or increased utility bills.
The Senate is currently discussing a limited cap and trade system that only covers electric utilities. Simultaneously, the EPA is drafting a new set of Clean Air Act regulations that will enforce much stricter rules on air polluters. Some analysts predict a move by utility companies to support the cap and trade system in exchange for exemption from the new Clean Air Act regulations.
This would be a real step backwards in our energy policy and the fight against global warming, since the new EPA regulations will likely be much tighter than the utility-only cap and trade system will propose. Simply passing a climate change bill is not an answer to our climate problems. As concerned citizens we must stay attentive and involved to influence the details of the coming climate change bill, which will hopefully have a huge effect on the most important issue facing humankind today.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo via Treehugger