Various Interpretations on WHAT KILLED the CLIMATE BILL:
7. The Media
Screenshot of Fox News
The media has done a woeful job of conveying the severity of the threat that climate change presents.
Dramatic narratives like insubstantial errors in the IPCC reports, and coverage so lacking that the public has lost urgency.
Even the New York Times runs fantastic op-eds on the subject, but can't run a solid story about the actual impacts of global warming. Without information, the public won't hold officials' feet to the fire -- not mentioning "news" outlets like Fox News, who push the propaganda that global warming is simply a hoax.
Until the media gets serious about climate change -- and how efforts to address it would actually work -- the public will remain passive.
By not doing its job, the media helped kill the climate bill.
6. US Chamber of Commerce
The USCC has obstructed progress on climate change legislation unabashedly from the beginning. Their stance was so backwards-looking (at one point, the president called for a "Scopes Monkey Trial" for climate change) that businesses began leaving the organization in droves, didn't stop them from encouraging the unfounded notion that climate legislation would be bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for the American energy consumer.
5. Archaic Filibuster Rules
There are an easy 53+ votes for climate legislation in the Senate. But Senate filibuster rules state that unless a party can muster 60 votes to break it, either party can filibuster away an ol' piece of legislation. Many view it as an affront to democracy.
4. Barack Obama
Image via the NY Times
Okay, so Obama didn't kill the climate bill. But he failed even to put it on life support.
He failed to link the disastrous BP Gulf spill to energy policy.
He failed to make the case for energy reform to the American people.
He failed to get behind climate legislation.
Failing to help legislation you've promised to back is pretty similar to letting it die.
3. Fossil Fuel Interests
Image via Reuters
Chicken-or-egg problem: without Big Coal and Oil, who knows where the GOP or 'moderate' Democrats would stand --
the power and economic weight of fossil fuel industries have a funny way of changing politicians' opinions.
That said, politicians have an obligation to act in ttheir constituents interests -- and their' children and grandchildren.
Regardless, fossil fuel industry groups (like American Petroleum Institute and various coal groups) twisted politicians' arms and convinced the public that climate legislation would doom the nation's economy.
With faux grassroots campaigns, town hall meetings and other even dirtier tricks, they instilled fear and uncertainty, making centrists and Republicans reluctant to even speak the words Cap And Trade.
2. Centrist and Coal State Democrats
Photo via Politico
Sharing as much blame as #1,
so-called 'moderate' Democrats refused to support climate action, fearing that supporting it would hurt their election chances,
They made a counterproductive laundry list of excuses and demands that made good legislation impossible.
1. The GOP
Photo via a Green Living
Yes, the immediate and most direct cause of the climate bill's demise was the Grand ol' Party.
With the exception of Lindsey Graham (for a while anyway) Republicans were unwilling to lift a finger to assist energy reform efforts.
They immediately adopted slogans like
'cap and tax' or
'energy tax' slogans,
distorting the legislation, sensing an opportunity to stymie Democrats' plans.
Most GOPers still say 'we need more information on climate change before we act' --
or worse, flat out deny that it's an issue.
GOP adopted a pointedly anti-science, morally corrupt line to score political points --
and Democrats and the White House for bowed to their tactics.
(to be continued...)