Today, by a vote of 48-36, Senate Republicans successfully blocked a climate change bill that would have put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions across the economy. Republicans called the bill a tax increase, but Barack Obama said, “Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Senate has chosen to block progress, rather than work in a good faith manner to address this challenge…”
He said that the nation can’t afford to play politics with this issue, “We can’t afford more of the same timid politics when the future of our planet is at stake. We are already breaking records with the intensity of our storms, the number of forest fires, and the periods of drought. By 2050, famine could force more than 250 million from their homes. And if we do nothing, sea levels will rise high enough to swallow large portions of every coastal city and town.”
“This bipartisan legislation establishes an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. It helps states, cities, and towns invest in technologies to reduce energy bills for homeowners, increase energy efficiency, construct green buildings, and expand public transit. It invests in green technology to help our automakers to retool and our fossil-fuel industries to become clean. The bill provides real financial relief to working families. Importantly, the bill restores our great nation’s international leadership role, while including provisions to ensure that all major emitting nations also take serious action to solve this global problem,” Obama said.
He did acknowledge that the bill was not perfect, “Let me clear, this bill is not perfect. Emissions reductions must reflect the scientific consensus, which are reductions of at least 80 percent 2050. We must ensure that more middle-class families reap more of the financial benefits created by this bill. And we must direct greater resources to the regions of the country that will bear the brunt of this critical transition to a clean energy economy.”
Climate change is an issue that is custom made for Obama. For his part, John McCain has chosen to break with George W. Bush on this issue, and his position isn’t much different from Obama’s in that they both advocate a cap and trade system. It is almost certain that no matter who wins the election in November, this bill will become law sometime next year. The real shame in all of this is that the White House and congressional Republicans have chosen to play politics with the health of the planet.
You can read Obama’s full statement right here