According to at least one US commentator, Senate climate and energy legislation is now as dead as the parrot in Monty Python’s famous sketch. Without rehearsing the possible scenarios for introducing the bill at a later stage or the ins-and-outs of ‘lame duck sessions‘ and their possible voting scenarios, why is even such an apparently lame climate change bill so difficult to pass in the US?
Some of course blame it’s very lameness and the Democrat leadership’s unwillingness to push hard on the issue of climate itself. Others are dancing on the bill’s grave, arguing that putting cap and trade at its heart was a fatal flaw. And a further phalanx of pro-climate action views direct their anger at the ‘moral cowards‘ defending ‘narrow electoral interests’ in the Senate. Continue reading
US and Australian shelves are suddenly straining under the weight of planned climate change policies. In the space of a few days, American Democrats appear to have put climate and energy legislation on hold in favour of a Senate bill on immigration and Rudd’s government down under has unequivocally placed its proposed cap and trade scheme in political storage.
Behind both of these decisions is a complex set of national, political circumstances. In the case of the US it’s clear that Democrats have spotted electoral gain in forcing the Republicans’ hand on immigration and also significant risk in not doing so. As a result, climate and energy may have to wait; the political cost being the probable loss of the support of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
The case of Australia is perhaps more complex still but also all about the politics. Continue reading