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Can Climate Legislation Rise from The Dead? Can Climate Legislation Rise from The Dead?

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Can Climate Legislation Rise from The Dead?

Can Climate Legislation Rise from the Dead?

It's pretty hard—no, extremely hard—to see any path forward for climate change legislation in the next couple of years.


But Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and self-described "climate hawk," begs to differ. He sees a window reopening in 2015 or 2016 to impose fees on carbon emissions.

"I am very confident that we can win a lot sooner than people think," Whitehouse said on a troop-rallying call Wednesday night with Organizing for Action, the advocacy group that sprung from President Obama's reelection campaign.

Whitehouse says EPA regulations on power plants combined with growing corporate concern about climate change, continued pressure from environmental groups, and a shift in public opinion about the need for action could work to make a carbon tax or something like it seem more attractive.


"Put all of those things together, and I think we have a real chance to have a good carbon bill come through Congress after this [midterm] election and before the presidential [election], in 2015 or 2016," Whitehouse told the activists Wednesday.

That would all be quite a needle to thread. But stranger things have happened, right?

Ben Geman


By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)


SOLAR ALSO POSES THREAT TO BIRDS. The same solar project that Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Thursday relies on solar-paneled towers that appear to have already resulted in a number of bird deaths.

  • Our take: There's no free lunch.

POLITICAL LOOSE ENDS GREET LANDRIEU ON ENERGY COMMITTEE. The Louisiana Democrat's first day leading a Senate panel left a contentious nomination battle unresolved.

HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES CHAIR SET TO RETIRE. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., a longtime critic of the Obama administration, announced his decision not to seek reelection in November. 

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WIND-FARM PLAN RAISES ALARM OVER EAGLE DEATHS. Conservation groups fear that dozens of the protected birds would be killed each year by 1,000 planned turbines in Wyoming.

DOE TOUTS CONTROVERSIAL LOAN PROGRAM AS HUGE SOLAR PROJECT OPENS. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz traveled to California for the dedication of a solar project backed by a federal program that Republicans have attacked for years.

LATEST CRUDE-BY-RAIL DERAILMENT. A freight train carrying heavy crude ran off the tracks in Pennsylvania. Authorities say crude leaked from the trains but the leaks have been contained.

CHINA WANTS TO INCENTIVIZE POLLUTION CONTROL. The Chinese government announced it plans to dole out the equivalent of $1.6 billion to cities and regions that take steps to rein in air pollution.

COAL MAKES A COMEBACK. High natural-gas prices are fueling increased coal-fired power generation.

KING COAL BOASTS ABOUT KEEPING US WARM WHILE TAKING JAB AT NATURAL GAS. Coal backers say we're leaning too heavily on natural gas. And they're using the polar vortex to make their case.

MAJOR UTILITY CALCULATES COST BENEFIT OF CLIMATE CHANGE PREP. Electricity provider Con Edison is planning to look at how preparing for extreme weather events and other impacts of climate change could affect its bottom line.


IS OBAMA MAKING THE RIGHT BET ON NATURAL GAS? In his State of the Union speech, Obama doubled down on his support for natural gas, calling it "the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution that causes climate change." Is that the right decision?

"Embracing Natural Gas Is a No-Brainer. Thanks to the U.S. shale revolution, our energy future has been transformed from one of energy scarcity to energy abundance, and it happened over the course of only a few short years." -Barry Russell, president and CEO, Independent Petroleum Association of America

"The President is correct in his support for domestic natural gas production and the economic, social and environmental benefits it brings…However, policy makers should better acknowledge the role that energy plays in terms of economic mobility and economic opportunity." -David Holt, president, Consumer Energy Alliance

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders


CLIMATE EVENT. The Center for American Progress holds a discussion on the Obama administration's climate change and conservation record and agenda moving forward.

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