This week the Senate could potentially hold the first set of major
climate votes of the 112th Congress on up to four Dirty Air Acts:
McConnell-Inhofe, Rockefeller, Baucus, and Stabenow. For years now the
Senate has delayed comprehensive action on climate and clean energy -
the only major votes held on climate have been votes on
polluter-endorsed bills that would gut the Clean Air Act. This vote
could set the stage for further Clean Air Act and climate fights as
the 2012 election cycle approaches.
Last week Republicans in the Senate threatened to force a vote on the Upton-Inhofe Dirty Air Act. A vote will be delayed until after the one-week recess but it goes to show how committed big polluters and their allies in Congress are to gutting the Clean Air Act every chance they get. Energy-related disasters and conflicts in Japan and Libya continue to influence the U.S. dialogue on energy and climate policy.
As Naima noted in last Friday's roundup, the percentage of Americans who believe climate change is real has dropped to the lowest point since 1998, from roughly two-thirds in 2008 to just 51% in 2010.This is no coincidence: From the so-called "Climategate" incident to the circus of last week's Upton-Inhofe Dirty Air Act hearings, big polluters and th
This week's energy conversations have been dominated by the nuclear disaster in Japan. At one particular plant, three reactors are in danger of melting down if not properly cooled by the emergency efforts. Most U.S. politicians are sticking to their former stances on nuclear power, including President Obama, who remains supportive of building new nuclear facilities in the U.S. Anti-Clean Air Act bills in the House and Senate continue to inch forward, with a House vote possible in the coming weeks.
Politicians continue to attack the Clean Air Act on a daily basis as budget fights, science hearings, and consideration of anti-climate bills persist on Capitol Hill. The government is currently only funded for two more weeks, forcing a major budget compromise by March 18th. House GOP leadership is signaling that they are willing to back down on their most egregious anti-climate riders, but Clean Air Act-blocking legislation continues to be considered in the House and Senate with the introduction of the Upton-Inhofe bill.
This past Saturday's Rally to Save the American Dream was a resounding success. People all over the nation flooded statehouses to support our public workers and stand up against tax breaks for corporations and the very rich. Along with other proud sponsors of the event (350, AFL-CIO, SEIU, MoveOn and more), we garnered the attention of none other than Glenn Beck -- making it all the way to his infamous chalkboard.
The Clean Air Act and climate change-related policies are under attack from all sides in D.C. this week. In an ongoing showdown, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering Chairman Fred Upton's (R-MI) "dirty air" bill. Meanwhile, the full House is pulling climate regulations and clean energy investments into a fight over the budget. Rhetoric suggests that the Clean Air Act and climate policy generally will continue to be points of contention throughout the upcoming budget process.
Last week's election will have major consequences for U.S. climate and energy policy. Republicans won a net victory of 60 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate, and at least 6 governorships. A number of climate champions lost tight races to candidates who deny climate science, but in California's Prop 23, the only race with global warming on the ballot, climate won by a decisive margin.