BBC News | 23 July 2010 | 12:15 GMT
The US Senate will not pass a full climate bill in its current session, majority leader Harry Reid has said. Mr Reid acknowledged on Thursday that Democrats pushing for a bill could not muster the required number of votes. Instead, he plans to introduce more limited legislation that would boost energy efficiency in vehicles and crack down on offshore oil exploration. The news is a major blow to prospects of achieving a new global deal on climate change through the UN talks. Some advocates of climate legislation in the US have criticised President Barack Obama for failing to take a strong lead on the issue, despite campaign promises.
In June 2009, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cap emissions from most sectors of the economy and establish a nationwide carbon market. A similar bill was introduced into the Senate last September, but did not receive enough backing; and weaker versions have suffered a similar fate. On Thursday, Mr Reid acknowledged legislation was not going anywhere. "We know where we are – we know that we don’t have the votes," he said. The Democrats hold 59 of the 100 Senate seats. But some Democrats fearful of the economic impacts of cap-and-trade legislation have joined the minority Republicans in opposition to the bill.
US legislation is key to tying up a new global agreement on climate change – the agreement that governments promised in 2007 they would deliver at last year’s Copenhagen summit, but did not. "It is very important to have the US in any agreement, as it constitutes 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions," said John Lanchbery, principal climate change adviser at the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and a seasoned observer of UN negotiations. "And it’s in the position where it has to have some domestic legislation before it will put anything
AP |Sunday, 13 Dec 2009
Senate Democrats overcame a Republican filibuster to clear the way for a vote Sunday on a huge end-of-year $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes money to run much of the government and pay for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The spending measure gives the Education Department, the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and others generous budget increases far exceeding inflation. On Saturday, the Democratic controlled Senate voted 60-34 to end the GOP filibuster that threatened to hold up the legislation. A final vote was set for Sunday afternoon whether to send the measure to President Barack Obama.
Democrats held Saturday’s vote open for an hour to accommodate Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an Orthodox Jew who walked more than three miles to the Capitol to vote on the Sabbath after attending services at his synagogue. Lieberman, wearing a black wool overcoat and bright orange scarf, finally provided the crucial 60th vote. The 1,000-plus-page bill brings together six of the 12 annual Continue reading