Climate Action On Capitol Hill

Last week, the House of Representatives passed an economic recovery package with $100 billion in funding for clean energy, electric cars, developing a next-generation national electric grid, and efficiency upgrades for homes, businesses, and government buildings.

Looking ahead, the Senate will now vote on its version of a recovery package. Like the House bill, it contains investment in clean energy and efficient technologies. However, the Senate has added funding for an Energy Department loan guarantee program for dirty, expensive, high-polluting coal-to-liquid fuel plants. The Senate should take its cue from the House and drop the coal-to-liquid provision to focus its efforts entirely on shovel-ready projects.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says she intends to schedule a vote on a climate bill before December 2009, when world leaders will meet in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Conference to reach a global agreement on how to deal with climate change.

Speaking to reporters last week, Pelosi said she intends to have a climate bill passed before the UN-sponsored summit in December.

"We can't fix it all overnight," Pelosi told the San Francisco Chronicle, "but we have to begin."

Henry Waxman (D-CA), whose Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to lead House action on climate legislation, said last week that he intends to have a climate bill ready by Memorial Day.

Published: February 3, 2009