More on the Climate Security Act

In yesterday’s post we discussed the pros and cons of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act – or at least tried to.

The bill is due to come to the floor in June, but many supporters in the Senate, including Environment and Public Works committee chair Barbara Boxer, are all but conceding they won’t get the required 60 votes for passage, even while staff for Boxer, Lieberman, and Warner feverishly work on an overhauled bill.

I’m not convinced that the Climate Security Act is the best of the several bills now before Congress (a pdf link comparing the legislation is here), but I do think it is important to get the Lieberman bill to floor for a debate. Progress at the federal level seems agonizingly slow (and I’m not even talking about Bush) but we need to get our leaders talking seriously about climate change. To each other and to their constituents.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to draft a letter for my senators voicing my concerns and questions about this bill and other possible solutions that readers are free to use and modify to their liking. It’s time we held our representative’s feet to the fire (as it were) and make them answer the tough questions about what they plan to do about climate change – if anything. Time’s a’Wastin’.

In the meantime, a couple other related items for consideration:

A comment I received yesterday spoke of the need for “recycled energy” that I think deserves attention. Here’s the comment:

What we really should be pushing is energy recycling — things like waste heat recovery and combined heat & power — which could reduce greenhouse emissions by 20% while CUTTING energy costs. I’m associated with Recycled Energy Development, of which Sean Casten (mentioned above) is the president. All this other stuff is hacking at the outer branches of the problem; making power production more efficient is the root.

And what about a revenue neutral carbon tax along the lines of the one filed last week in British Columbia? Proponents say such a plan would avoid the shenanigans inherent in administering a cap and trade program, especially like the one in the Climate Security Act.

Lastly – and alas – I point you to a report released yesterday by the Pew Research Center that shows a deepening “partisan divide over global warming”, along with some excellent commentary from ClimateProgress.

It’s often hard to see how we’ll ever get Congress to pass effective and workable climate change legislation, but we’ve got to keep trying.  

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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  1. Thanks for highlighting my comment from yesterday! One point I forgot to make: 69% of our nation’s greenhouse emissions come from the production of power and heat; just 19% come from cars and light trucks. Since energy recycling could reduce emissions by 20%, that means it would do more than taking every single car off the road. And yet energy recycling is invisible in the public debate. The reason more of it isn’t done is that regulations give huge advantages to utilities and make it hard for efficient power producers to compete. That’s what we really need to change.


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