Kicking off the roast is Monday evening’s Senate cloture vote on the Lieberman-Warner global warming bill and the official debut of Rep. Edward Markey’s (D-Mass.) green legislation that makes the Senate bill look conservative.
Congressional aides still disagree whether the required 60 votes can be rounded up to begin debating the Lieberman-Warner bill. And lobbyists say the final count will be largely determined by what fence-sitting senators hear from their constituents during this week’s congressional break.
In a nutshell, the Senate bill would cap greenhouse gases and allow polluters to buy and trade emissions credits, aiming to reduce levels by 70 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
Compare that to the 85 percent reduction that Markey’s cap-and-trade bill is calling for, which green lobbyists already joke makes the business sector 15 percent more likely to oppose it.
Big business and the coal industry are already primary opponents of the Senate global warming bill, saying it could negatively impact the economy and could raise energy costs significantly.
A manager’s amendment by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) gives more flexibility to polluters, including allowing them to meet a portion of their emissions requirements by funding clean energy development overseas.
But that hasn’t stopped the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and the Club for Growth from unleashing a full-scale advertising campaign targeting coal-heavy states, warning lawmakers the legislation could decimate the economy.
The Sierra Club and other green groups still argue that Lieberman-Warner misses the mark on significant emissions reductions.
The debate has even infiltrated the summer movie scene. “The Happening,” a horror film based on climate change, is set to open on Friday the 13th of June, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the brains behind spine-tingler “The Sixth Sense.”