Climate change legislation may have gotten a boost in the Senate over the weekend. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined with Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., to promote a bipartisan plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed compromise would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. through a market-based cap and trade system that's combined with a clean energy program that provides incentives for nuclear power, offshore oil and gas drilling and coal emissions controls.
Political analysts say the unexpected alliance will improve the bill's chances of passage, however obstacles still remain. Senators on both sides of the aisle from coal-producing states and the Midwest are concerned climate change legislation would increase energy costs. Environmental groups are opposed to nuclear power generation and normally oppose offshore oil and gas drilling as well.
There is also the issue of time. Last month Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said other issues would take priority and suggested climate change legislation would be on the back burner until at least the end of the year. A spokesperson for Kerry said both Kerry and Graham want to make substantial, bipartisan progress leading up to the climate summit in Copenhagen this December. Also Senate Environment Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has signaled a desire to pass a bill through her committee before the Copenhagen summit. She plans to soon issue a revised version of the bill she and Kerry introduced two weeks ago.
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