Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2010

CLIMATE BILL BURIED UNDER SNOW?.... A tri-partisan energy bill being crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is still pending in the Senate. The odds have been against it, and this week, it looks as if success is getting further away.

Just last week, Graham explained, "[F]rom a Republican point of view, you've got the best chance you'll ever have to get meaningful energy independence. From the Democratic left point of view, you've got the best chance you'll ever have to have carbon pollution controls. Don't let [the opportunity] pass."

It looks likely that lawmakers will ignore Graham's good advice.

Record snowfall has buried Washington -- and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year.

Cars are stranded in banks of snow along the streets of the federal capital, and in the corridors of Congress, climate legislation also has been put on ice.

Democratic senators say a bill that was once a top priority for the party and for President Barack Obama cannot be dug up again during 2010.

It seems mind-numbing, but Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said snowfall in D.C. has had an effect on policymakers' attitudes. "It makes it more challenging for folks not taking time to review the scientific arguments," said Bingaman, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"People see the world around them and they extrapolate," he added. "I think that it's hard to see an economy-wide cap-and-trade [proposal] of the type that passed the House could prevail."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters last week that he'd like to see the final language on Kerry/Graham/Lieberman fairly soon, with hopes for a floor debate in the Spring. "Lawmakers," The Hill reported, "are growing increasingly skeptical of that plan."

And given that Republicans -- who tend to believe all of the scientific data is part of an elaborate conspiracy/plot, and deserves to be rejected -- are likely to make meaningful gains in the midterm elections, it may be many years before Congress even tries to limit emissions and combat global warming.

As the threat of the crisis grows more intense, Congress cannot act. The environmental consequences are likely to be severe and unforgiving.

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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Comments

This is another in what seems to be an infinite series of examples of Publican short-sightedness and hypocrisy.
One of the things their "base" (an appropriate term, as they're some pretty base people) profess to be exercised over is the flood of "illegals" taking "our" jobs, sucking up health-care and educational $, and committing crimes (such as dating the Pubbie daughters).
It's clear that, from a political standpoint, one of the most important effects of AGW is likely to be a number of massive migrations, and conflicts over resources, esp water. "Conflicts" are of course a plus for the Thuglicans, but they're not likely to be thrilled with hordes of poor, dark-skinned people gathering at the gates, and climbing over, tunneling under, and going around whatever walls we build on the borders...

Posted by: smartalek on February 10, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

excellent post, steve...

herewith the greatest symbol of the callow stupidity and cowardice that is destroying this country.

Posted by: neill on February 10, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
"People see the world around them and they extrapolate," he added.

Yes, just like they always vote down aid for drought-stricken farmers when it rains in Washington. Oh, wait...

Idiots.

Posted by: Redshift on February 10, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

We really do live in the stupidest country on earth, don't we?

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on February 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ. What happened to the people in the congress ? Did they all feast on stupid pills ? Are they really so pathetically ignorant and dull that the weather would affect how they view climate legislation ? Time to get rid of the entire lot. Pave over Washington with fresh dirt, plant some trees and flowers, and at least help the environment a little.

Posted by: rbe1 on February 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't the majority of repubs live in the southern warmer climate? Let's not address warming. Maybe it'll get even hotter there and they'll all die off first, or be overrun by Central Americans fleeing even hotter climates.

Posted by: Dave on February 10, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

When Capital Hill becomes an island at high tide like Mont Saint-Michel, will Americans finally curse the Republicans (and their allies among the Democrats) for making sure that their corporate johns in the oil and coal industries were able to get just one more quarter of profits?


Posted by: SteveT on February 10, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

If we can't address climate change until there is no more snow anywhere on the globe ever, then we deserve what we get.

Posted by: Mike on February 10, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

i realize it's coming from little lindsay light-in-the-loafers, but why the comparison of "republican" vs. "democratic left"?

Posted by: mellowjohn on February 10, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks to the ubiquitous misnomer 'global warming,' this kind of weather does make the ignorant public skeptical.

If only we could go back in time and call it 'human deadening.'

Posted by: doubtful on February 10, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Fodder for flatearthers

Bingaman: "People see the world around them and they extrapolate," he added. "I think that it's hard to see an economy-wide cap-and-trade [proposal] of the type that passed the House could prevail."

If you have time watch this Climate Denial Crock of the Week:
It's so cold, there can't be Global Warming.
Totally brilliant.

What's the take away?
The science says that even when the ice caps are gone, somewhere on the planet a locality will be experiencing an ALL TIME LOW. Imagine that. One meter of sea level rise and you will still be able to count on some pug somewhere saying: Hey it's cold here, ain't no global warming.

Posted by: koreyel on February 10, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me AGW action advocates have a bad habit of trying this stuff in cold weather. It happens a lot to Al Gore. Yeah, rational people can still appreciate the science but politics is 90% PR, and you have to accommodate that or fail.

Posted by: neil b on February 10, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

There's a Black Hole somewhere, sucking IQ points out of the American Mind.

Posted by: DAY on February 10, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, this snow is the result of unusually warm weather - the ocean is warmer than normal and as a result it's putting more moisture into the air and creating more energetic weather systems.

Posted by: Bloix on February 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

We do live in a matrix of idiocy, don't we? Educated people confusing evidence of climate change with evidence against it...

Only a few TV folks like Dylan Ratigan are out there, who succinctly debunked the nonsense going on mainstream media in general.

Posted by: Ohioan on February 10, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

You'd think it was only the ignorant proletariat who were incapable of understanding that global warming might actually bring more snow in some regions, or cause some coastal areas to be under a pall of dense fog for most of the year. Nope; if it's cold, then global warming is all a transparent fake pushed by a bunch of conniving quacko-scientists. And that seems to go for their "leaders" as well, although I'm not sure if the first group in a race to the bottom could properly be called leaders.

This attitude will persist until the damage is irreversible. Then, as I've suggested before, the narrative will be all about how we're all in this together, and that it's no time for finger-pointing because it's really nobody's fault.

On the bright side, we cannot have reached the end of evolving as a species, because some have so much catching-up to do.

Posted by: Mark on February 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

...snowfall in D.C. has had an effect on policymakers' attitudes.

But much much less than when corporate interests tug on their collars.

Posted by: Kevin on February 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

If you'd like to follow the politics of climate change, Joe Romm's site is excellent:

http://climateprogress.org/

For a site that is kept scrupulously clean of politics and particularly empty invective, focusing instead on factual treatment of climate change with an eye to keeping the scientific record straight, see:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/

Posted by: Doug Bostrom on February 10, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever I read items like this, I wonder why I ever bother to vote.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on February 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans base their decisions on global warming/climate change on "looking out the window" and seeing snow in winter time. They don't think Mother Nature's (or God himself's) reach goes beyond the county line.

These are the same geniuses that believe that Muslim militants from halfway across the world are going to get on a camel and institute worldwide Islamic sharia law in downtown Dayton if a trial is held anywhere on this continent.

Now, that's some powerful foe.

Posted by: Harry R. Sohl on February 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sweet Baby Jesus. We are soooooo screwed.

Posted by: Stevio on February 10, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever I read items like this, I wonder why I ever bother to vote. -Lifelong Dem

The same reason you apply pressure to a mortal wound.

Posted by: doubtful on February 10, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

"We really do live in the stupidest country on earth, don't we?"

We're number one! We're number one!

Posted by: Henk on February 10, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

It seems mind-numbing, but Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said snowfall in D.C. has had an effect on policymakers' attitudes. "It makes it more challenging for folks not taking time to review the scientific arguments," said Bingaman, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Meanwhile, in my part of Alaska the temperatures are unseasonably warm. But, if it's snowing in the mid-Atlantic states global warming must be a hoax!

Posted by: AK Liberal on February 10, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The DC snow notwithstanding, this January was the warmest in history worldwide. So when DC bakes to death this Summer there will be a 180 degree turn in attitudes? The stupidity of these people is breathtaking, and I really fear for the future.

Posted by: bob h on February 10, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans base their decisions on global warming/climate change on "looking out the window" and seeing snow in winter time.

Not quite - they base their decisions on how loudly their fossil fuel industry donors howl about the risk to their profits.

Posted by: MasterD, damn yankee on February 10, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well, maybe give them all free tickets to the WINTER Olympics (they like free stuff, don't they?), which begin on Friday in Vancouver, B.C. Have them check out this NBC story before they go, though.

http://www.nbcolympics.com/news-features/news/newsid=404682.html

Posted by: yourpooruncle on February 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

In a few days, the winter olympics begin in Vancouver. The organizers have been creating artificial snow, they are moving venues, restricting practice time, and getting ready for a rainstorm this coming weekend. You read that right - a hot weather mother of a rainstorm for the opening of the winter olympics.

Will they be reconsidering then, and maybe extrapolate differently?

Posted by: SteinL on February 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stupid American population yields as a fringe benefit stupid American politicians. Such developments as you describe come as no surprise.

Posted by: sherifffruitfly on February 10, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

koreyel, that video is the most awesome thing I've ever seen. I've already linked it on my FB wall and posted it on a obscure political board where I'm a regular. I like to call the Denier crowd ignorant and proud of it, thanks for handing me a big ole dose of STFU to some true morons.

Posted by: 6th Gen FL Native on February 10, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

"The organizers have been creating artificial snow, they are moving venues, restricting practice time, and getting ready for a rainstorm this coming weekend."

Mount Washington, on Vancouver Island, has a 365cm base and has had an excellent season for snow. Members of Olympic teams were training there when I was up last weekend. However, Vancouver Island has also experienced the warmest January on record, and it has rained at Mount Washington several times, which usually doesn't happen until mid-March. Trees are beginning to leaf out in Victoria, and there were already some cherry blossoms before January ended.

Under the layers of trucked-in snow at Cypress Bowl in Vancouver are layers of trucked-in straw, to pad out the snow, because there just isn't enough of it although they are trucking it in frantically from higher elevations.

Posted by: Mark on February 10, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

It was over 60 degrees in DC two weeks ago.

I'm tired of excuses.

Posted by: RickD on February 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Would it help if we told them it's like 92 degrees in Rio today? 87 in Pretoria tomorrow? 97 in Saigon?

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK


Awesomely stupid. People might want to think about how Vancouver, site of the Winter Olympics, had its warmest-ever January.

And, yeah, models of global warming predict extremes like these snowstorms. For those who like science fiction, check out Kim Stanley Robinson's FIFTY DEGREES BELOW, the centerpiece of which is a snowstorm in DC rather, er, like the one happening now.

Posted by: Bat of Moon on February 10, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hockey stick graph: contained misleading data where the cover-up was worse than the crime.
Himalayan glacier disappearance: Poorly sourced and now completely in doubt.
40% claim on Amazon forest disappearance: based on wildfire estimates and hyped by a Canadian think tank who is pro-global warming.

I wonder why people are becoming skeptical about the global warming stuff? Seems to me there needs to be a cleansing in the scientific ranks.

"We know it is there we just can't prove it completely," sounds a lot like the WMDs argument doesn't it?

Posted by: Orwell on February 10, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

And meanwhile its been so warm in Vancouver that they've had to IMPORT SNOW in order to hold the Winter Olympics.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/sports/olympics/22snow.html?hp

Posted by: thorin-1 on February 10, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

You'll be one of those, in years to come, making the argument that "we just didn't know" and "this is no time for finger-pointing".

Posted by: Mark on February 10, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Geeez! Why do the idiots always control the memes going through the news cycles? Climate change models include the ability to hold more moisture in the warmer upper atmosphere. Eventually this does come down as rain or snow, sleet or hail! Perhaps this is good news if you happen to live in the Sahara desert but not such good news if you live in DC during the winter. And as for those idiots who failed Science class:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

Posted by: northcoaster on February 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's still amazing to contemplate the fact that Washington has been just as productive while closed to a snowstorm as it is during a legislative session.

Snowjobs meet snow storms.

I don't want a climate bill. Nor do I want an energy bill.

What I want is some forward-thinking and planning by our paid legislators.

Look at the snow. Comes from Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

Climate and weather are not one and the same.

But then again, maybe what the snow jobs want are

one and the same with folks who take our money,

be they bankers, con-artists, etc.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 10, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Time to get rid of the entire lot. Pave over Washington with fresh dirt, plant some trees and flowers, and at least help the environment a little.

Posted by: rbe1 on February 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM

I couldn't agree more. Reading idiocy like this makes me wonder how The Onion even stays in operation. Let's hit the "Reset" button, throw every one of these clods out on their asses and start over. There is simply no way the Senate could get any stupider and more embarrassing than it is now.*

*Until the next wave of idiocy, which if they keep going the way they are, should happen around Friday sometime.

Posted by: electrolite on February 10, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Governance FAIL

The Democerats were geiven large majorities and they squandered their opportunity.

What.A.Bunch.Of.Losers.

Posted by: The Fool on February 10, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

So if they're so influenced by the environment, send them to Vancouver where it is supposed to be snowing enough to hold the winter olympics. The actuality is that it is so warm that they can't truck the snow in fast enough.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on February 10, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I hear they got the original environmental bill passed by setting it up for debate on a very hot spring day(hot spring day in dc = totes miserable) and then shutting off the AC to the room they were debating in.

Posted by: SBGypsy on February 11, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Hands down, debt settlement is the best debt relief approach. Shortest programs, lowest amount paid overall, no interest, least damage on the credit worthiness.

Posted by: Credit Debt on November 1, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

These credit cards are extremely dangerous to teenagers who have no experience in the real world. They think they can charge now and pay later, but when the time comes, they either have no money, or don't want to throw away their money on bills but on normal things like going out and having fun. Then when they realize they need, they're in denial making it even worse and destroying their credit scores completely.

Posted by: Credit Card Debt on November 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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