Frosty Climate for Cap-and-Trade

As momentum for a climate bill slows in the Senate, bloggers scramble to assign blame

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Last week, Senate Democrats missed their own deadline to introduce a cap-and-trade bill, triggering a flurry of commentary from the blogosphere. The delay looms large with a fast-approaching U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. While some on the blogging left are attacking Democrats for stalling, others are defending their party. Meanwhile, conservatives continue to oppose the bill in the face of Democratic disarray.

Does the delay matter? Who's to blame for it? Is the bill even a good idea? Pundits weigh in:

  • A Tragic Delay for Democrats and Humanity, mourns Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress: "Each and every year that emission volumes fail to fall, more and more catastrophe becomes inevitable. Wildfires burn, land floods, islands are rendered uninhabitable, hurricanes destroy cities, countries are wracked by famine, etc." Democrats who drag their feet will go down in history as the Neville Chamberlains of our time, writes Yglesias. 
  • Go Easy on the Dems--Blame GOP, insists climate expert Joseph Romm at Grist. Sensing a liberal backlash to the delay, Romm says the Democrats' recent achievements on clean energy and global warming are "unparalleled in U.S. history." He lists a slew of accomplishments, which include:
    • Raising new car fuel efficiency standards to 39 mpg by 2016
    • Blocking the "vast majority" of new coal plants
    • Giving many states the right to set tough emissions requirements on automobiles
    • Appointing a vocal, global-warming-conscious cabinet
    • Signing tax credits to get 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015
    • Boosting mass transit funding by 70 percent
    • Doubling the annual budget for advanced energy efficient technology
This may well be remembered as the time that progressives, led by Obama, began the climate-saving transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy built around green jobs ... If we don't stop the hundreds years of misery, of "Hell and High Water," that will almost certainly be because the conservative movement threw their entire weight behind humanity's self-destruction.
  • Blame Whomever, the Bill Should Die, warns David Ridenour at the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research: "You should be terrified by the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. It's legislation that would gut the economy." The bill would burden companies, triggering massive layoffs and unemployment just as we begin our economic recovery, argues Ridenour.  
  • Like a Train Wreck in Slow Motion, smiles Ed Morrissey at the right-wing Hot Air blog. Morrissey believes Democrats will lose their House and Senate majorities because of cap-and-trade. "The Democratic caucus in the Senate will crack along both ideological and regional lines, with coal state Senators looking to stop its advance and the destruction of their home-state economies." The delay represents genuine disagreement within the party. Any further push for cap-and-trade by the president or Senate leadership will be at the expense of vulnerable red-state Democrats, Morrissey writes. 
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.