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  • 06.09.08

Down – – or Up? – – In Flames

OK, so while many environmental leaders are moaning the loss of the Warner-Lieberman climate bill (S2191) I think we may have actually won an important battle in the war to get Congress to take this issue seriously. Given that the President told the world he would not sign a climate change bill that imposed the slightest cost on industry, no one could be surprised that Congress didn’t put a comprehensive bill on his desk.

OK, so while many environmental leaders are moaning the loss
of the Warner-Lieberman climate bill (S2191) I think we may have actually won
an important battle in the war to get Congress to take this issue seriously.

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Given that the President told the world he would not sign a
climate change bill that imposed the slightest cost on industry, no one could
be surprised that Congress didn’t put a comprehensive bill on his desk. So why
go through the charade of proposing and debating (not to mention reading aloud
all 400+ pages, as they did in Congress this past week) a meaningful piece of
legislation?

Because you try on a pair of shoes before you buy them,
that’s why. This was another teachable moment, as were the dozen or more climate
bills introduced in the past two years. Now Congress, which includes the next
President, and Capitol Hill staffers have a much better understanding of what
components of a climate action plan will work, who will pay for them, and where
the landmines of passage or peril may be waiting.

We all learned a lot from this effort and its predecessors,
but the most important lesson is to compare these sausage-making exercises
against the growing drumbeat from the scientific community that we are running
out of time. If that’s the final epitaph on the tombstone of S2191, then it
will have been a short life well lived.

About the author

From his youth in Australia to career experiences in Europe, Africa, China and across the United States, Terry has developed expertise in business, farming, education, non-profit, the environment, the arts, and government. A United States Coast Guard-licensed ship captain, Terry has long been drawn to the undersea world, starting in the 1960s with a family-run tropical fish breeding business in Australia and continuing with studies on conch depletion in the Bahamas, manatee populations in Florida coastal waters, and mariculture in the Gulf States with Texas A&M University.

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