The Push for Climate and Energy Legislation Continues
submitted by David Newton
As suggested in the August issue, the passage of a comprehensive climate and energy bill at the national level will be very difficult. In fact in early August, the Majority Leadership in the U.S. Senate decided against debating the proposed climate-energy legislation. Given the time remaining in this session of Congress, the Senate may not debate it in 2010.
Of course, a major reason that enacting comprehensive climate and energy legislation is very challenging is that climate and energy issues are very complicated and they impact everyone. It is more difficult than the health care reform struggle we experienced earlier in this session of Congress. The amounts of money and the numbers of lobbyists on all sides are huge. However, those in opposition currently have more resources and they have used them effectively.
We know politicians understand, and benefit from, campaign contributions, and the votes that put them into office. It is very doubtful that the environmental community will ever have the financial resources of the supporters of fossil fuels; therefore, we'll have to rely primarily on political action, i.e., convincing many more voters to actively support adoption of the legislation needed.
Putting it another way, those who support changes in the ways we power our nation, simply must become more active and remain so until we achieve success. There is simply no alternative.
Our message may have to be changed later, but for now it should stress: jobs, national security, and human health. Most people who are without a job and/or uneasy about the economy simply are not very concerned about the plight of polar bears.
In addition to the pressuring the federal government, we should all work to influence actions by state, county and municipal governments. Show up, stand up, and speak out!
As mentioned last month, one way to remain informed and involved is to sign up for The Hotline of the National Sierra Club at http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Signup_Hotline.