At the America’s Future Now conference, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins of Green for All made a strong and enthusiastic pitch for a comprehensive climate bill this summer. It was a persuasive and compelling speech, clearly done without the knowledge that Chuck Schumer basically completely undercut her this morning by ripping that climate bill apart:
Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed that Majority Leader Harry Reid will move an energy-only bill next month, based on a template authored by Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, and predicted that Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will have a chance to offer their much farther-reaching climate change legislation as an amendment to the base package.
“Kerry has a proposal that has pretty broad support,” Schumer said. “He’s going, in my opinion, going to get a chance to offer it in the form of an amendment.”
OK, that’s the end of the climate bill right there. Kerry and Lieberman would need 60 votes to pass their amendment, in all likelihood. While it was unclear if they could get cloture for their weakened version of a cap and trade bill, there’s almost no chance they get it as an amendment.
So what we have left is an energy bill, and as I’ve said repeatedly, if it’s based on the Bingaman ACELA bill that passed the Natural Resources Committee last year, it’s basically worse than the status quo. More clean energy would be produced if we did nothing than if we passed that bill, according to independent studies. I could envision a clean energy and efficiency bill similar to what nearly passed the Senate in 2007 being worth it, but the Bingaman bill isn’t that.
Nobody can credibly call that bill, with some additions in response to the BP oil disaster, anything close to a “comprehensive clean energy solution.” It’s about as embarrassing as any major legislation that this Congress has tried to pass. I’ll wait for the details, but this is pretty bad.