A Climate Bill Surge?

Last week, we noted that Larry Summers, director of Obama’s National Economic Council, called for an “eclectic” energy policy in a speech at the Energy Information Administration. But the rest of his speech was far more interesting than that soundbite suggests. Summers painted the need for an energy overhaul as a strategic economic move that must be made post-haste.

Energy & Environment News posted the full speech today, which calls for “a new gestalt, a new view, a new paradigm, and a commitment to renewal” on energy policy:

Which, I ask you, has greater danger going forward: that we will, in the name of comprehensive energy policy somehow do too much that will affect energy markets by encouraging efficiency or encouraging exploration, or that we will again miss the opportunity, that we will again not act strongly enough with respect to a gathering storm?

Read the history of great nations. Read how they succeed and read how they fail. Their ability to mobilize to solve problems before they are absolutely imminent crises is what determines their longevity. That’s why this task of economic renewal is so important broadly. And that’s why I believe it is so important that we move for economic reasons to pass comprehensive energy legislation.

The E&E story posits that the Summers speech is a prelude to a “climate-bill surge” in the coming weeks. The three senators working on climate legislation—John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)—have said they will have a bill ready for release next week, in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22. But the opening for passing a major law this year is quickly narrowing. If the Obama administration is serious about getting legislation in place, go time is now.


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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.