Last Thursday, Senate Leaders announced that they would not be taking up climate legislation to the floor before August. This move makes consideration of a cap on carbon unlikely in this Congress. The Senate will instead move forward before the August recess with a more narrowly focused bill aimed mostly at responding directly to the oil spill. 1Sky’s angry press statement reaction is here.
The Senate has once again stalled on climate this summer by officially dropping a comprehensive climate bill from July legislation. In other words, a climate bill will not be passed this summer as we hoped. Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their friends in Congress have again blocked any progress towards a solution to our dependence on dirty energy and our worsening climate. This only goes to show the huge and disturbing influence Big Oil and Dirty Coal has on Congress. This is unacceptable, even more so now that we are in the middle of the worst oil spill in our history and our ever rising temperatures proving global warming is a clear and present danger. However, Congress is either blind to the fact or simply looks the other way.
I really enjoy reading the comments left by 1Sky supporters during a call campaign. With each campaign, our supporters call their elected officials, voice their concerns with the legislators’ staff, and provide us with feedback on their call. Not only is feedback crucial for us to gauge Senate office reactions to our demands, they also inform us on how together we’re pushing our leaders to keep fighting for clean energy solutions.
Our current Spill to Bill campaign focuses on what the Senate needs to do to protect the Clean Air Act in bill negotiations over the next two weeks and help us transition from the Gulf Oil Disaster to a strong climate and clean energy bill. These callers keep pushing their leaders and making these calls to keep our voice raised for what we think is a very crucial moment for climate legislation in our country. Here are a few of my favorite comments so far from callers (hint: add your own and call your senators now!):
Claudia in PA (calling Sen. Bob Casey):
Told him…. trying to protect coal industry jobs is like protecting the guy who sweeps the deck of the Titanic.
Recent reports that the Senate will not consider comprehensive
climate and clean energy legislation before August are a testament to
the outrageous influence of Big Oil and Dirty Coal and their allies in
Congress. It is unacceptable that even in the wake of the worst oil
spill in U.S. history, our elected officials have failed to take bold
action to address the dangers of our fossil fuel dependence and our
worsening climate crisis.
“Enough is enough. The Senate and the Obama Administration must
break the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on our political system
and show the leadership necessary to take us from the BP spill to a
strong clean energy and climate bill. 1Sky activists will be mobilizing
during the August congressional recess to drive that message home loud
and clear. The time for solutions is now.
If you have ever tried to talk to a family member, friend, or plane seat-neighbor about climate change, you know the unique challenges that this offers. As someone who works in the climate movement informing people what is going on and what they can do, I'm right there with you. Recently I came across a great, accessible paper from the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) on just this issue that can help us both.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three months since the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. That's three months of seeing pictures of oil-soaked birds, hearing about failed attempts to stop the spill, and reading stories of people’s lives being devastated by oil reaching their shoreline and crippling their livelihoods.
To commemorate the three month anniversary of the spill, volunteers from many environmental groups, including 1Sky, gathered in front of the Capitol for a rally on July 20. We listened to many speakers, including residents of the Gulf who had come to lobby their senators to pass a climate and energy bill. With signs and chants, we called for an end to dirty energy money in politics, an end to offshore drilling, and a shift to clean, renewable energy sources. Many people covered their hands in oil-like substances to illustrate the devastation in the Gulf and to represent the oily hands of the politicians who accept donations from dirty energy companies. After the rally, many volunteers visited the offices of the ten members of Congress who have received the most campaign contributions from BP and demanded that they give this money to relief efforts in the Gulf. Here's a slideshow of images from yesterday's event:
Stephen Schneider died on Monday. Losing Stephen is so hard. He was one of the few climate scientists I could call, ask for guidance, and cry with. He knew as much as anybody about the complex effects of global warming on glaciers, coral reefs, sea level rise and drought. Stephen was one of the world's most influential climate scientists, a Stanford professor, a physicist, and a leader among the scientists whose climate research earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Among his many contributions and achievements, Stephen advised every U.S. President from Nixon to Obama on the threat and potential impact of global warming. He was only 65.
With time running out in the 111th Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has decided to schedule floor time for an energy and climate bill next week. His general outline for the bill includes oil spill response, clean energy incentives, and utility-only climate regulations, but a final product has yet to be assembled. Utilities and moderate senators have yet to be wooed by Reid's outline, but Senate leadership remains committed to bringing a bill to the floor that will attract 60 votes. See 1Sky’s latest call to action.
Has a climate bill been scaled down to a "utilities only" bill, which will only put a cap on power plants? Maybe and even this modified bill still may not pass. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M) is putting it all together and basically crossing his fingers hoping for the best. But, this bill is receiving a bittersweet response from the concerned public.