Democrat leadership throws climate progress into doubt

This weekend, the Obama administration threw American, and therefore international, climate progress into doubt when it put the climate and energy bill on ice.

Accepting the Democrat nomination on June 3 2009, Barack Obama predicted future generations would look back and see that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”. But late Saturday night, the Obama administration threw American, and therefore international, climate progress into doubt when it put the bipartisan climate and energy bill on ice. Indefinitely.

The draft bill was due to be unveiled today, but the US government has now signalled that instead of passing a climate bill, they plan to focus instead on immigration reforms.

According to the Washington Post, Lindsay Graham – the only Republican currently backing the Democrats’ climate and energy reforms – has written to Senators Kerry and Lieberman, the co-sponsors of the bill, saying:

“I want to bring to your attention what appears to be a decision by the Obama Administration and Senate Democratic leadership to move immigration instead of energy.

Unless their plan substantially changes this weekend, I will be unable to move forward on energy independence legislation at this time. I will not allow our hard work to be rolled out in a manner that has no chance of success.”

Joe Romm of Washington’s most influential think tank, the Centre for American Progress, blogged:

If the White House loses Graham that would certainly kill any chances of a climate bill this year.

Romm puts the blame squarely on the government, adding:

“There’s plenty of time to do immigration after energy and climate, especially since the conventional wisdom is that the immigration bill has a far, far less plausible chance of becoming law.”

David Roberts at Grist puts the blame on Democrat majority leader Harry Reid, who knew about Graham’s letter before it went public:

“It’s stupid to have a Dem majority leader from a red state, for the simple reason that his personal political fortunes are frequently going to run counter to the party’s. Reid is facing a perilous reelection battle in Nevada this year. He’s behind by double digits and desperately needs to mobilize his state’s large Hispanic population. So he’s trying to jam immigration through next, despite the fact that there’s no legislative language and nobody thinks it has a chance of passing.”

He adds:

“I can’t believe Obama (or White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) will stand by and let Reid do it.”

Thomas Friedman writing in the New York Times over the weekend, calling for a “Green Tea Party movement”, describes the development as “a travesty”.

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