June 28, 2007

Climate Sausage

In the current TNR, Eve Fairbanks has a fantastic article about how John Dingell, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, became the bête noire of greens everywhere. Unexpectedly, though, Dingell just pledged to craft a bill by the fall that would require an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. He's also made vague, very vague, noises about a carbon tax. If true, that would be a major, major shift--only a few weeks ago, Dingell was looking to undermine state tailpipe regulations and subsidize liquid coal fuel; now he's staking out the green-most edge of the climate-change debate.

So I agree with Dave Roberts--it's probably not terribly smart for MoveOn to go around attacking Dingell--with radio ads calling him "Dingellsaurus"--at this point. As one energy consultant told Eve: "Don't piss him off... it doesn't serve their interests." (On the other hand, Dingell made his announcement the day after the MoveOn ads aired--so maybe a little pressure works.)

Meanwhile, in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Virginia Republican John Warner has just announced that he would help write a bill to cap CO2 emissions. Warner's been on the fence for awhile, and from what I saw, he was pretty moved by Gore's testimony to Congress in March. Now, Warner probably won't push for drastic reductions, but seeing as how, according to the Hill, Max Baucus--a coal-state Democrat on the committee who's up for re-election--is a likely "no" vote, Warner's going to be the crucial swing vote for getting a climate-change bill moved in the Senate.

Update: A reader writes in to suggest that Baucus might not be so unreceptive to an emissions-reduction bill after all.
-- Brad Plumer 9:53 AM || ||