Blue Dogs’ Climate Revolt: No Climate Bill Without China, India

  • Date: 05/12/09

The New York Times: A group of Senate Democrats who are considered swing votes on pending climate change and energy legislation sent a letter to President Obama Thursday morning detailing their conditions for supporting any domestic bill or international treaty to address global warming.

The senators, most from industrial states or regions heavily dependent on coal for power generation, laid out 10 provisions any agreement must contain to win their support. They timed their letter to guide Mr. Obama’s thinking as he prepares to go to Copenhagen next week to address the United Nations conference on climate change that is working toward a binding international treaty. With few if any Republicans likely to support legislation imposing mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions, sponsors of the bill will need to round up virtually all Democrats to pass it, including these nine.

The senators who signed the letter are Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Begich of Alaska. All are fence-sitters on the legislation and their votes will be needed when the Senate bill comes up for debate early next year.

The signers of the letter say they will support climate legislation and international efforts to combat global warming if all nations — industrialized as well as developing — are held to stringent limits on climate-altering emissions. They say that tough verification and enforcement mechanisms are necessary. They want to see trade penalties levied against nations that do not comply with any international agreement. They say that any program to transfer technology to emerging nations must contain copyright protections for intellectual property. And any treaty or bill must protect American jobs and promote low-cost solutions to environmental problems.

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