Climate Chaos: Senators Meeting Soon
Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are reportedly planning to meet this afternoon with Lindsey Graham in a last-ditch effort to salvage the climate and energy bill the three senators have been working on for months. The legislation, scheduled to be unveiled today, was thrown into chaos this weekend after Graham threatened to abandon negotiations unless Democrats committed to advancing energy and climate ahead of immigration reform.
Meanwhile, advocates for climate action are trying to figure out whether there's still a chance that the trio's bill—which Kerry has called the "last, best shot" at tackling global warming this Congress—still has a chance or is already dead in the water. Greens were already plenty nervous about the rollout of the bill, as leaks about the draft indicated it would be very friendly to business interests. But if Graham follows through with his threat, there may not be a bill at all. "It's hard to know if this is jockeying for position, or if this is a watershed," said David Hamilton, director of the global warming and energy program at the Sierra Club. "I think we just have to wait a few days and see how it shakes out."
Hamilton pointed out that Graham "certainly appeared serious." However, Graham's been able to wring a lot out of this bill, including major investments in nuclear power and increased offshore drilling. It's not clear how many of those concessions would survive if he walked away. Hamilton added that the South Carolina senator has also invested a lot of political capital in the bill. "It's hard to believe that it would all just end up on the kitchen floor."