By Norris McDonald
About 35,000 people rallied on The National Mall to support climate change mitigation and to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. Opposing the pipeline has become the new litmus test for environmentalism, replacing the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Yet hundreds of thousands of miles of hydrocarbon carrying pipelines already crisscross the United States to support the American way of life.
It appears that President Obama will approve the international agreement for the northern shortcut as he already has for the southern extension of the pipeline. President Obama also provided lofty rhethoric on energy and climate change during his State of the Union.
The Center has partnered with a pipeline company and is seeking construction and ownership opportunities.
Congress appears to be punting on climate change legislation for the first half of this year. According to The Hill, House and Senate climate change mitigation advocates have introduced legislation, but are not trying to rush a vote:
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rolled out a major plan (Climate Protection Act of 2013) that would impose carbon emissions fees. Boxer wants the bill to come to the floor by summer, but she has not discussed that prospect yet with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). A Reid spokesman said it is too soon to talk about specific climate measures.The legislation would impose a fee on carbon emissions that would fund investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices..
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on February 4th released her energy blueprint – Energy 20/20: A Vision for American’s Energy Future.
A new congressional global warming caucus, The Safe Climate Caucus, has been formed in the House of Representatives and is chaired by Energy & Commerce Committee ranking minority member Henry Waxman. The new Safe Climate Caucus follows Waxman’s creation several weeks ago of a new bicameral climate task force with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
The Center supports Cap & Trade but evidently it is permanently politically dead. And it has been years since either chamber debated major climate legislation. A cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate in 2008, while a sweeping energy and emissions-capping bill Waxman co-authored narrowly cleared the House in 2009, when Democrats had the majority. But a version of the plan that now-former Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) crafted in 2010 never reached the floor. (The Hill)