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YEEESSSSSS! Bipartisan support for climate change legislation


By Anthony Baratta, Ohio, USA

Saturday, October 10th 2009 may not have been a very memorable day for many. There were no major NCAA football upsets, no monumental  news reported on TV, and my paint-balling venture only resulted in me hitting one measly enemy, an astonishingly low accuracy of .002%. However, Saturday may have been a turning point in the United States’ attempt to pass a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases.

Featured in the NYT was Senator John Kerry and Senator Lindsey Graham’s op-ed, “Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation.)” Why is this a big deal? The article is the first major display of bipartisan Congressional support for climate change legislation in the United States. Republicans all the way back to George Bush I have been promising to take climate change seriously; Republicans Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe, former Republican Arlen Specter and several others have expressed their caveat-laced approval before, and John McCain and Sarah Palin actually ran on an environmental platform of implementing a cap and trade system in the US. But no Senator has put his reputation on the line like this before.  As Bill Scher at Grist opines,

Final compromise language is far from complete. But for the conservative South Carolinian to explicitly back “aggressive reductions in our emissions of the carbon gases that cause climate change” (!) in a joint op-ed with Massachusetts liberal Sen. John Kerry (!!) published in pages of New York Times (!!!), Graham has already done all he could to infuriate the conservative movement and many voters in his conservative state.

In other words, Graham has already assumed the political risks for doing a deal. And there’s no point in taking those risks unless you actually do the deal. He has crossed the climate Rubicon.

Senator Jim Inhofe has already expressed his plans of going to Copenhagen as a “one-man truth squad” to let other world leaders know the US is not serious about passing climate change legislation. Now that there is bipartisan support, has Inhofe canceled his flight? No news reported yet. My suggestion would be for Sen. Graham to give the Senator a ring and offer to accompany him on his venture.

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