Climate Security Act Debate Lasts One Week (barely) on the Senate Floor

Senate debate over Climate Security Act makes little headwayWe did say with a thud earlier this week didn’t we?

And thud it did.

Unable muster the required 60 votes to stop a filibuster, the Senate debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Security Act is over even as it barely had a chance to begin.

Hopes of a substantive debate over climate change and laying the groundwork for the next president (it was never expected that George Bush would ever allow the bill to become law) collapsed into partisan bickering and dysfunction, with each side accusing the other of obstruction.

Expressing disappointment, Chairman Barbara Boxer of the Environment and Public Works Committee said

We really didn’t expect to have such a truncated debate. We are working colleague to colleague to see how many votes we have to stop the filibuster”

Not enough apparently.

An unrelated fight over federal judges halted debate on the issue only two days after it began.

While I didn’t expect the bill to pass the Senate, let alone make it past George Bush, it doesn’t bode well that even a semblance of a real debate on climate change can’t get off the ground. It seems as yet another example of the failure of government to deal with tough issues.

We should expect and demand better from Congress. Time is short and leadership is lacking.


In reaction to the developments this week in the Senate, Dr. Richard Moss, vice president of WWF released the following statement:

The Senate’s consideration of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act this week marked a significant milestone in the effort to turn the tide on global climate change. Fifty-four senators, including Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), publicly expressed their support for advancing the strongest climate change bill to ever come before Congress. And in a clear sign of the changing political climate in Washington, ten senators who opposed the previous climate bill in 2005 voted in favor of advancing Lieberman-Warner – a much stronger bill.

While I applaud the advances we’ve seen, we need immediate concrete actions to reduce emissions. Time is not on our side. Last week, the administration released two reports examining current and future impacts of climate change. The reports indicated that we are already feeling the effects of climate change in every region of the country. And these will only worsen with each additional political cycle of inaction.

As we delay, we further load our atmosphere with greenhouse gases and place ourselves in greater jeopardy. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. We must continue to refine our approach to combating climate change.

During debate on Lieberman-Warner, WWF worked to build support among key senators for important provisions that will help us reduce climate change and prepare for its impacts by supporting a global treaty on climate change, funding international adaptation, combating tropical deforestation, and improving climate change science. WWF also gathered a coalition of 11 major corporations in support of cap and trade legislation, sending a powerful message that addressing climate change is completely consistent with robust economic growth.

We are also focused on encouraging the U.S. to show leadership in the negotiation of a new international climate treaty that will start the global community on the path to avoiding catastrophic climatic change. In the near-term, we must reduce emissions in the U.S. through measures such as energy efficiency – which offers the greatest opportunity for immediate reductions while providing considerable savings to consumers – and developing renewable energy sources.

We do not have time for further delay. We must seize every opportunity to ensure a cleaner, safer, more secure future.”



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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