The US Senate has delayed voting on a climate bill until spring because many senators are unwilling to get serious about a bill to curb global warming, and the Senate leadership has prioritized other issues. Unfortunately, it seems that while the rest of the world looks on and waits for the US to finally get it’s act together and pass a comprehensive policy, the Senate is unwilling to grant this issue the importance it deserves. Fortunately, there are other ways for the US federal government to address global warming, other than the Senate passing climate bill. A recent finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gas emissions present a real threat to human health has opened the doors for the federal government to regulate these emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Senate had better get focused and pass a bill soon, or senators may find they’ve lost their chance to influence what form climate policy takes, and that regulations on carbon are already moving forward through other avenues.
Currently it’s unlikely that Congress will act on climate until after the 2012 Presidential election. This is because climate change is a hugely contentious issue involving differing opinions on climate science, economic impact and foreign policy. The US is beginning to enforce stronger air emissions standards through the Clean Air Act (CAA), but this is still being challenged in the courts, even after the Supreme Court determined that carbon dioxide was a pollutant that should be regulated under the CAA.
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