A Wild Ride: Big News from the Clean Energy Front

A lot has happened quickly in the clean energy world. Here’s a wrap-up:

  • Yesterday was day two of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s markup process for the Kerry-Boxer bill. Republicans once again boycotted the proceedings, although they made a couple of cameo appearances. The markup continues today — you can see it on C-Span. And, Greenwire is now reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer “the green  light” to move ahead without the GOP. Reid reportedly told Boxer to advance global warming legislation on Tuesday, November 10,  if Republicans have not ended their boycott by then.
  • At the same time, three strange bedfellows — Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced they would work on a “dual track” to create a climate bill that would get 60 Senate votes. Our Tony Kriendler says the three have given “new life to a bipartisan process.”
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is making tentative gestures of support in the general direction of a climate bill. The Chamber, which has been slammed by the media and abandoned by some of its own members since saying we need a “Scopes monkey trial” on climate science, said today that it “supports most of the principles outlined” in that Kerry-Graham-Lieberman proposal. Details are still fuzzy, but Tony Kreindler says: “We’re delighted to see the Chamber recognize that there’s a bipartisan path forward to a cap on emissions. If they support it, that would be truly a first.” Indeed, we at EDF would all be thrilled if the Chamber’s new tone were followed up with real action.
  • A new group launched today “to support action to limit greenhouse gases and counter the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” American Businesses for Clean Energy includes high profile companies — including some who quit the Chamber because of its stance on climate change. Members include utilities — New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG), Florida’s FPL Group Inc. (FPL) and New Mexico’s PNM Resources (PNM) — as retailer Gap Inc. and Colorado ski resort operator Aspen Skiing Co. More from the Wall Street Journal.
  • And New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity released a new poll of 144 economists. It found a whopping “94% believe the U.S. should join climate agreements to limit global warming,” and that “significant benefits from curbing greenhouse-gas emissions would justify the costs of action.”
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