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A Guide To The Global Warming Debate

The much-hyped global warming bill before the Senate this week is probably doomed, so the debate will be largely about political positioning and spin. 

Republicans are poised to allow a key procedural vote to pass this evening to allow debate on the bill, largely because they are confident that the climate change legislation, with its controversial cap and trade policy for emissions, will die on a final vote.

The bill is 500 pages of complex policy prescriptions for reducing emissions, increasing the cost of polluting and pumping up the federal government’s mandates on energy producing industries.

Here are five things to watch on the first _ and likely the last _ global warming debate in the Senate before the 2008 election:

1. Industrial state Democrats.
This debate doesn’t break cleanly along party lines, as moderates like John Warner (R-Va.) have cosponsored the bill while Democrats like Jon Tester of Montana and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota are undecided.

Republicans are seeking to exploit these wavering Democrats from industrial states and coal producing regions, saying the new emissions regulations will cost thousands of jobs and harm the auto, coal and energy producing industries. Watch closely Democrats like Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan and Sherrod Brown of Ohio on the final vote later this week. As one GOP aide says: “The more we get into this, the more we realize [Majority Leader] Harry Reid wants to get this on and off the floor quickly.”
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