The Scan — October 16, 2013

National Journal
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Oct. 15, 2013, 4:47 p.m.

The “fi­nal week of the” UN Cli­mate Change sum­mit “boils down to a battle between” Pres. Obama and “the self-de­scribed ‘skunk at the pic­nic’” — Sen. James In­hofe (R-OK).

In­hofe, “who has called glob­al warm­ing a hoax, plans to travel this week to Copen­ha­gen” where he’ll stay “just long enough — as few as three hours, he says — to tell heads of state that the Sen­ate will not pass an en­ergy bill that would lim­it green­house gas emis­sions.”

In­hofe: “We know (the bill) is nev­er go­ing to go to a vote. It’s dead. It’s gone … I’m not go­ing to al­low them to think Amer­ica is go­ing to do something it’s not.”

Del­eg­ates from oth­er coun­tries “say that without Con­gress’ sup­port, Obama won’t be able to keep whatever prom­ises he makes when he ar­rives” 12/18 “to try to seal a deal on cap­ping emis­sions” (Winter, USA Today, 12/14).

In the weekly GOP ad­dress, Rep. Mar­sha Black­burn (R-TN) “slammed” the sum­mit, say­ing it “could res­ult in emis­sions man­dates” that “would des­troy mil­lions of Amer­ic­an jobs and dam­age our eco­nom­ic com­pet­it­ive­ness for dec­ades to come.”

Black­burn: “With Amer­ic­ans already fa­cing double-di­git un­em­ploy­ment, there could be no worse time to uni­lat­er­ally dis­arm our en­er­gies of job cre­ation and eco­nom­ic growth.” (Zi­m­mer­mann, The Hill, 12/12).

But “des­pite a mul­ti­tude of im­passes, con­flicts, and dra­mas play­ing out in hotel lob­bies, res­taur­ants, and meet­ing halls in Den­mark’s fri­gid cap­it­al city, hope re­mains the dom­in­ant mood” as the sum­mit enters its fi­nal five days.

Even if a fi­nal agree­ment on green­house gas emis­sions is not achieved, “many en­vir­on­ment­al­ists, aca­dem­ics, and sci­ent­ists say, the ground­work to reach one next year ap­pears to be get­ting done” (Da­ley, Bo­ston Globe, 12/14).

War Of The Bills

“As if the de­bate … wasn’t com­plic­ated enough,” Sens. Maria Can­t­well (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) 12/11 “in­tro­duced their own bill to cut emis­sions, one that’s a lot sim­pler to ex­plain to voters” and that “plays off the anti-Wall Street mood that’s pop­u­lar” on both sides of the aisle.

The “ques­tion is wheth­er the latest bill will be any easi­er to pass.” Like oth­er bills it would “re­quire com­pan­ies to hold gov­ern­ment-is­sued per­mits in or­der to emit green­house gases” but the Can­t­well-Collins meas­ure “would give the vast ma­jor­ity of rev­en­ues raised un­der such a sys­tem — 75% — back to con­sumers each month in the form of checks.”

At “39 pages, the Can­t­well-Collins bill is a lot easi­er to un­der­stand than the” 1.4K-paged “be­hemoth the House ap­proved” over the sum­mer and it’s also “a lot closer to the spir­it of” Obama’s “cam­paign pledge, which called for ‘all pol­lu­tion cred­its to be auc­tioned.’” But “does that make it easi­er to pass?”

Can­t­well “says her bill,” with Col­lin’s co-spon­sor­ship, “has a bet­ter chance of se­cur­ing the votes of” GOP­ers and mod­er­ate Dems (Power, Wall Street Journ­al, 12/11).

Their ver­sion may give crit­ics of the House bill “something to rally around.” Can­t­well-Collins “has at­trac­ted sup­port from some new quar­ters, however, it could lose sup­port from seg­ments of the busi­ness com­munity that have helped pro­pel the cli­mate le­gis­la­tion” for­ward in the House and Sen­ate cmte.

Wall Street “may be par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­poin­ted in the new bill” be­cause it “would re­strict trad­ing in a new car­bon mar­ket to en­tit­ies reg­u­lated by the act, a move that may have more pop­u­list ap­peal” (Snyder, The Hill, 12/14).

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