KGL Bill Earns Praise From Both Industry and Enviros; Something’s Gotta Give

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Friday, March 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Yesterday, I noted that industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are saying some not-unflattering things about the climate bill being unveiled by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — something which ought to get environmental advocates a bit concerned about what’s in the bill. But now a funny thing’s happening: Environmental analysts on the left are also sounding cautiously optimistic about the legislation.

Here’s Brad Plumer’s take at The New Republic:

Honestly, this sounds pretty similar to the Waxman-Markey climate bill that passed the House last June. … Like the House bill, the Senate proposal aims to cut emissions 17 percent by 2020—which is, as I’ve mentioned before, a much weaker goal than many scientists have said is needed to stave off drastic climate change. That said, it is the short-term target the United States committed to at Copenhagen.

Later, he tweeted, “Surprised that rumored Senate climate proposal is pretty similar to House bill (for now). Expected so, so much worse.”

Brad Johnson at ThinkProgress posted a chart comparing the Senate proposal (or what we know of it) to the House bill — and while there are some important differences (and deficiencies in the Senate version), the overarching targets and contours are pretty similar.

So what does this mean? An optimistic take for environmental advocates is that Kerry, Graham and Lieberman have managed to strike exactly the right balance, one that will successfully reduce emissions and jumpstart our transition to clean energy without losing the support of the business community.

And for the pessimistic view, here’s Plumer:

[C]onsider the flurry of stories this week about how the Chamber of Commerce’s chief lobbyist, Bruce Josten, thought the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill was “largely in sync” with industry demands. And yet, judging from the early rumors, the proposal doesn’t sound radically different from the House bill (which the Chamber loathed). Surely both things can’t keep being true, right?

Update: Twenty leading environmental groups just came out in support of the KGL efforts. Kate Sheppard has more.

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