Support for Moving Forward on Climate

Support for moving forward on climate is stronger than ever, with an impressive array of constituencies speaking up to make clear they want to see the US Senate take up consideration of clean energy and climate legislation.

This includes new calls from businesses. The Hill is reporting that We Can Lead whipped up a letter from 175 companies addressing the current delay, saying

As American business leaders, we urge you to continue work on comprehensive energy and climate legislation and to help put the efforts by Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman back on track. A carefully constructed climate and energy bill will spur a new energy economy and with it create millions of new American jobs…at the same time it will enhance our national security by making American more energy independent.

And this week, The Hill, Politico, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal have been reporting on calls from the US Climate Action Partnership, We Can Lead and American Businesses for Clean Energy for Congress to move forward.

31 Environmental groups also sent a letter up to the hill, saying

Representing thirty-one national organizations and millions of Americans who support strong clean energy and climate change legislation, we write to urge the U.S. Senate not to squander the great promise of bi-partisan action we've witnessed over the last six months. This must be the year that the United States passes comprehensive climate and energy legislation into law in order to create jobs, strengthen our national security, and reduce carbon pollution.  We can't afford to delay action any longer; we urge the Senate to take up a comprehensive energy and climate bill in June.

The Christian Coalition’s President Roberta Combs is saying

Now, though political divides threaten to stall progress, Congress must not turn aside from the continuing crisis. …With a strong push from Congress, U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs will bring the power of America’s free market to bear on solving our energy crisis, while ensuring our future prosperity.

In an oped in today’s Politico co-signed with NWF’s Larry Schweiger.

And the Utility Workers Union has been highly vocal, with National Journal reporting that

Utility Workers Union of America President Mike Langford said "it's just very disappointing that we can't do what's right for America to produce new jobs and put the people first, put the economy first rather than party politics."

Langford, whose members are employed by electric generation and transmission companies, said climate change legislation is needed to boost the economy. "Right now utilities aren't investing because they don't know where the line in the sand is going to be drawn" on controlling greenhouse gas emissions, he said. UWUA members in town this week for their annual legislative conference still plan to lobby their senators to adopt a climate bill.

And interestingly, the delay is prompting some Senators whose votes Kerry, Graham and Lieberman will need to express interest in getting to climate. As E&E News reports today (subscription required) that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said

... in terms of jobs and economic stability, I thought -- and I said this a year and a half ago -- it should be health care first and energy second.

And the article goes on to say

I'd love to see [climate] get back on track," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who added that she was "anxious" to see the official Kerry-Graham-Lieberman proposal.

Of course, how this will all play out is anyone’s guess. But one thing is clear: there is widespread interest in turning up the heat on the climate question this year.