Capitol Hill Takes On Global Warming

(See here) a piece that appears on AlterNet and is written by Tara Lohan that discusses legislative proposals being made on Capitol Hill to combat greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

My own discussion of this piece is going to concentrate on the proposals being made in the Senate. While powerful legislation is apt to be supported in the House of Representatives, the real test is going to come in the Senate where Democrats only control 51 of 100 seats and must overcome the filibuster to get anything done. Yes, even if both houses of Congress come to agreement and pass something, they still have to deal with a possible veto in the Oval Office, however I think Congress should pass meaningful legislation and then dare George Dubyah Bush to veto it.

So what is going on in the Senate? What piqued my interest most strongly is the McCain/Lieberman bill. Quoting from the piece:
While all the bills contain cap-and-trade language, they do differ. The McCain/Lieberman bill, also co-sponsored by Barack Obama, D-Ill., requires serious GHG reductions, but for some, the bill is a no-go for other reasons.

"While the bill's environmental objectives are a strong advance, one provision remains misguided," said NRDC President Frances G. Beinecke. "Despite the provision of billions of dollars in subsidies to the nuclear industry in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and over $85 billion in historical subsidies, the bill ... contains additional nuclear subsidies that NRDC continues to oppose. Additional giveaways to an industry made up of some of the world's wealthiest firms are neither necessary nor warranted."

Bovey added: "There are problems with nuclear power that we don't have answers for -- what to do with the waste -- whether taxpayers should be subsidizing an industry that is so expensive when there are cleaner, cheaper, faster, and better sources of energy. And when we look at McCain/Lieberman, we applaud that there is a defining cap and some other terrific elements but with the subsidy for nuclear power in there it is just a nonstarter."

Now why have I settled on this bill as being my "gold standard" worthy of support instead of what Julia Bovey, senior legislative communications associate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) describes as her "gold standard"? Because the McCain/Lieberman bill DOES include nuclear power in the mix.

Look, if we rely on "tree hugging" environmentalists to solve the problem for us, the only "solution" we are going to end up with is that we all become Amish and farm using horse drawn plows to till the earth. "They" object to wind turbines, hydro-electric, nuclear power, clean coal technology and just about everything except for solar power evidently.

Well there is a problem with solar power. There are not enough raw materials to meet the demand if we all decided to "go solar". Certainly solar power should be part of the solution, however we need to be realists on just how far solar power can go to meet demand. What, instead of subsidizing nuclear power we should subsidize solar panels? The solar panel industry is already finding it hard to keep costs reasonable because of the dearth of raw materials to meet existing demand.

What are we going to do with the waste from nuclear power generation? From what I have seen, the environmentalists are the cause of the problem for why we do not yet have a solution to long term storage of the waste. I wish they would stop pointing to the problem when they are the CAUSE of the problem.

Now I do not wish to point to nuclear power as being a large part of the solution to our problem. My understanding is that there is not enough fuel for the reactors to provide a long term solution to our energy needs. However it still can be part of the mix needed to obtain the solution.

Environmentalists need to sign on to the McCain/Lieberman bill and hope that it survives with all the aspects that they like about it. The McCain/Lieberman bill might not make "tree huggers" happy, but evidence is that it might actually accomplish something to get us headed towards solving the problem.

Too bad that TV commercial that Tara speaks about does not pan down to show that the reason the little girl did not step out of the way of the locomotive bearing down on her is because there was a tree hugging environmentalist holding her feet down.


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