Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry is working with Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to craft a new climate and energy bill.
“I talked to Sen. [Harry] Reid recently, and he wants a bill, and he wants it very soon,” Kerry said. “We are excited, contrary to conventional wisdom, and we’re on the short track.”
The “comprehensive” bill would provide incentives for nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal, and would also include some form of cap and trade, Kerry said at the National Press Club.
“Setting a price on carbon is the only way to deal with the negative consequences of carbon going up into the atmosphere,” he said. “We need to create a signal in the marketplace so that businesses have certainty about where the market is going in 20, 30, 50 years and so that they begin to invest accordingly.”
Some analysts argue that any form of cap-and-trade will significantly hamper the economy at a time when the nation’s jobless rate hovers around 10 percent.
“Legislators like to paint climate policy as a jobs bill, but cap-and-trade will cost the economy jobs, and the impact on the environment has been proven to be minimal,” David Kreutzer, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Caller.
Kerry called the science behind the climate policy “scientific reason that schoolchildren understand.”
“Have mistakes been made by people setting a date for when something is going to melt? Yeah, but nobody can be certain about any of that,” Kerry said. “The point is not that what the date is. The point is that it’s happening, and nobody doubts that it’s happening.”
The New York Times reported yesterday that President Barack Obama is seeking to resurrect an issue that was all but dead after the U.S. failed to orchestrate the signing of an international legally binding agreement at December’s Copenhagen conference.
The renewed push for climate legislation comes as the president is gearing up for Thursday’s bipartisan health-care summit and as the Senate moves toward Wednesday’s final vote on Reid’s jobs bill.
The new bill also faces skepticism from the America public. Public opinion of the dangers of climate change has shifted as the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faced criticism regarding false data included in a 2007 report.
“The consensus of anybody who studies American opinion has to be that there’s less concern, rather than more, on global warming,” said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Organization, in an interview with Bloomberg.
“It will be different than anything that’s been put on the table in the House or the Senate to date, and I think it can help change the debate,” Kerry said. “Whatever shape the bill takes, there will be very strict accountability, very strong transparency, and little to no opportunity for games to be played in ways they have been in the past.”