Yesterday I wrote about a report from Johns Hopkins University and the Center for Climate Strategies. The report demonstrates how federal climate policy could create 2.5 million jobs between now and 2020. At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed with no end to their unemployment in sight, how is it possible that something that is beneficial on so many fronts loses support from our nation’s leaders? This is a hot topic in the blogosphere, and I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite posts on the topic.
Jim Tankersley touches on the failed policy in a post for the L.A. Times Greenspace blog. He looks back at the past 18 months and what went wrong in the push for climate policy.
Environmental groups poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising campaigns touting clean-energy jobs, a message their polls showed voters responding to. Coal and oil groups countered with ads warning of higher energy costs.
On Capitol Hill, the fossil-fuel crowd enjoyed two key advantages. One was influence: Oil and gas companies have combined for nearly $90 million in federal lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions so far this year, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Wind, solar and other “alternative energy” firms have tallied about $16 million.
Obviously our nation’s legislative branch felt that now is not the time for climate policy. This next post by Francesca Rheannon for CSRWire has some ideas on how states, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and individual businesses can step in and fill the empty hole left by Congress.
Now what? This is a question that environmental advocacy groups are asking themselves now that Congress has basically abandoned climate policy. Rheannon suggests that states, the EPA, and businesses can fill this void.
“Just because our national legislators can’t break the gridlock on Capitol Hill doesn’t mean state governments have to sit on their hands. Regional cap-and-trade systems are one avenue to get the transition to a low carbon future rolling. The ten northeastern states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) completed their seventh quarterly auction last March, earning $88 million for investment in the clean energy economy.”
Rheannon is on to something. The climate policy recommendations in the report I mentioned at the beginning of this article were based on current climate legislation in 16 states. If some states are already modeling successful climate policy, this may make it easier to get more states on board. While it won’t have the same effect that a federal policy would have, it is certainly better than nothing.
While our lack of action on climate policy will have negative effects here at home, this inaction is also causing concern around the world. In this AP article, Arthur Max examines how our inability to pass federal climate policy is being perceived by other nations.
The decision to strike the bill from the Senate's immediate agenda has deepened the distrust among poor countries about the intentions of United States and other industrial countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions that power their wealthy economies but risk causing the Earth to dangerously overheat, say climate activists.
The blogosphere is filled with similar posts. Disappointment about the lack of support for climate policy is everywhere.