If the “energy package” about to emerge in the Senate looks anything like what Kate Sheppard is hearing, Senate Democrats should be ashamed. I threw in the towel on the climate bill a long time ago, because it was clear no serious attempt to address global warming could gain 60 votes in the Senate. Still, I thought some decent provisions might survive in a scaled-back energy bill.
Not so, according to Sheppard, who’s among the best reporters covering climate legislation. Sources from “several Senate offices” told her what’s likely to be in the new bill, and what will be conspicuously absent:
Obviously, there’s no carbon cap, that much we already knew. But there’s also no other major energy efficiency standards, and, perhaps most importantly, no renewable electricity standard -not even the weak one included in the energy bill last year. […]
Senate aides hoping to put a positive spin on the package note that it at least does not include any of the really bad measures that progressive senators were worried about, including major incentives for coal and nuclear power and the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases.
Are we supposed to be impressed that the largest Democratic Senate majority in decades won’t press ahead with “really bad measures” for the environment?
For all of President Barack Obama’s talk about our clean energy future, we won’t even get a renewable electricity standard to boost wind and solar production. We won’t get new energy efficiency standards, even though reducing demand for electricity tends to be faster and cheaper than building new facilities to generate electricity.
The American Wind Energy Association put out an action alert urging people to contact their senators demanding a renewable electricity standard in the energy bill. If you are so inclined, you can contact your senators through this page. I will contact the offices of Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, although doing so probably won’t accomplish anything.
This disgrace gives me yet another reason not to donate to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the future. I don’t plan to waste my money or volunteer time on Organizing for America either. Obama failed to use his bully pulpit to produce a good climate bill and made stupid concessions to polluting industries along the way. He’s so afraid of losing a legislative battle that he didn’t even fight the good fight. But when he signs this worthless energy bill, he’ll probably declare victory in a very inspiring speech.
UPDATE: How pathetic–a White House official provides a blind quote to Politico blaming environmental groups for the Senate’s failure to pass a broad climate bill:
“They didn’t deliver a single Republican,” the official told POLITICO. “They spent like $100 million and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.”
Poor Mr. President. He could have delivered on one of his major campaign promises if the environmentalists hadn’t let him down.
SECOND UPDATE: I couldn’t agree more with Transportation 4 America: “With the Senate backing down on a real climate bill, it’s more important than ever that next transport bill helps make climate progress.”