Senate Climate Bill Delayed Yet Again As Obama Takes Nobel
As my colleague Ryan wrote earlier, the congressional climate change bill no represents the most meaningful path for urbanists, and advocates for clean transportation in general, to make their voices heard in the national debate.
The U.S. may not agree to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in a new treaty this year because there is no domestic law setting a framework, the country’s top negotiator said at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok.
Without legislation advancing in Congress, it will be difficult for the world’s biggest economy to pledge an emissions target for itself, U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing told reporters today as negotiations wound up in the Thai capital.
“It will be extraordinarily difficult for the U.S. to commit to a specific number in the absence of action from Congress,” Pershing said. “The question is open as to how much we can do. It’s not really possible to answer.”
Supporters of the Senate climate bill -- including President Obama -- have downplayed the significance of passing a Senate climate bill before talks on global emissions reductions begin in Copenhagen in December. Foreign relations committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA), the bill's chief sponsor, has even suggested that the bill has a stronger chance of winning Senate approval than any treaty signed at Copenhagen, which would have to secure a two-thirds majority in the upper chamber of Congress.
But if the U.S. continues backing away from setting a broad emissions target this year, it could result in a further loss of momentum for the Senate climate bill, setting up a vicious cycle of sorts. And all this on a day when Obama takes the Nobel Peace Prize for helping America "[play] a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting.”