US climate deal “unlikely this year”

Left Foot Forward is in Madrid today for the Global Progress conference, organised by the Center for American Progress and Ideas Foundation. Kicking off the day, Jen Palmieri – a former deputy press secretary to President Bill Clinton and Senior Vice President for Communications at CAP – spoke about the challenges facing environmentalists in the US.

Speaking exclusively to Left Foot Forward after the morning session, Palmieri said:

“I think that it’s going to be difficult to get something done this year. The House voted for this bill in June. When it passed in June it was considered to be a very tough vote politically. I don’t think that’s actually true but the congress actually lacks behind public opinion in the United States on this issue.

“I think that, given the timing, at a minimum, the healthcare bill’s probably not going to be done till the end of November, that gives, in reality, no time to consider a climate change bill this year, and then you’re looking at doing something in 2010 which is difficult of course because of the mid-term political elections so it is possible that something unforeseen could happen in the healthcare debate.

“If something bad happens to healthcare that could be actually good for climate change legislation or it can happen that the healthcare debate can end on a high note, and the democrats will feel empowered as opposed to vulnerable and then they could act on climate change legislation then but politically it’s still very difficult to act on this and the members of Congress and Senate in particular that represent southern and mid-western states are really reticent to act on this.”

Watch it:

But Max Bergman, Deputy Policy Director at the US National Security Network, said, “No but yes. If the health care bill passes soon, it’s a game changer and anything’s possible.”

The Conference began last night when María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the Spanish Vice President, spoke of:

“Going back to multilateralism, international cooperation and social responsibility as the pillars to tackle the first big crisis of globalization, and the problems of international dimension like climate change, security threats ad hunger.”

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