Friday, December 14, 2012

Boxer's Climate Change Caucus Breeds Hope for Legislation on Emissions Reduction

Although very few believe that the US will pass legislation that addresses global warming there is a glimmer of hope appearing on the horizon. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said on December 11th, that she’s forming a climate change caucus. This move suggests that Democrats may be preparing the way for legislation that addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Boxer believes that extreme weather, particularly Hurricane Sandy has helped Americans to understand the urgency of addressing climate change. As reported in The Hill, Boxer said:

“I am going to form a climate change caucus, because people are coming up to me, they really want to get into this. I think Sandy changed a lot of minds,” Boxer told reporters in the Capitol.

“It is going to work with all the committees and all the committee chairmen to make sure we can move forward legislation that reduces carbon pollution and also works on mitigation and all of the other elements,” she said.

There are already legislative efforts underway from Boxer and some other Democrats to improve coastal resilience to storms such as Sandy. This next round of legislation may very well contain a provision for cap-and-trade.

Cap-and-trade legislation narrowly passed a Democrat controlled House in 2009, but the scaled back version did not secure enough support to come to a vote in the Senate the following year.

“I think you are going to see a lot of bills on climate change,” Boxer told reporters. “I don’t know whether [they will include] cap-and-trade, but there will be a lot of different bills. I have already spoken to three colleagues that have bills in the works,” she said.

What is most surprising is that Boxer said she was hopeful that Republicans would participate. It remains to be seen whether this is little more than wishful thinking.

The fact that extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy will become much more frequent due to climate change, may yet prove to be a catalyst driving support for legislation to limits GHG emissions.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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