The clean energy and climate bill drafted by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman remains stuck in limbo. After all the careful drafting and negotiations the senators conducted, the bill has been slowed by Washington politics.
This stalling has to stop. Too much is at stake and the finish line is too close to let a cleaner, more prosperous future slip away.
There is a real danger here that we could lose an historic opportunity and all the vital benefits that would come with it--nearly 2 million jobs that will help American families, cleaner cars and fuels that will cut oil imports in half, and climate solutions that will address the biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our age.
The time has come to move into the future, not remain stuck in the past, and Americans from all walks of life agree. In the past few days, business executives, labor unions, religious groups, and environmental organizations have said loud and clear that they want our lawmakers to pass a clean energy and climate bill now.
I believe our leaders are listening. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said:
"Immigration, energy are equally vital to our economic and national security. And we've ignored both of them for far too long. I'm committed to doing both this session of Congress … Common sense dictates that if you have a bill that's ready to go, that's the one I'm going to go to … the energy bill is ready."
But we have to make sure Senators and the White House hear how urgent this bill is. More delay will hurt America--and help our rivals.
Stalling this bill makes climate change impacts worse. This week, the EPA released a report confirming that global warming is already hitting America: 7 of the top 10 warmest years on record and 8 of the top 10 years for extreme one-day precipitation events have occurred since 1990 (you can see some of the startling graphs here). These trends will continue unless low-carbon technologies are put in place now.
Stalling this bill helps China’s economy, not ours. On Wednesday, Tom Friedman wrote that people were high-fiving in Beijing this week because the Senate’s failure to pass a clean energy and climate bill means China can dominate the global clean energy market, which is expected to attract $230 billion in annual investment by 2020.
Stalling this bill helps Iran and other regimes that support extremists. If the Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate legislation, Iran alone will earn an extra $100 million per day on average from higher oil prices.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can urge your senators to get clean energy and climate legislation back on track by clicking here.
President Obama also has a critical role to play. Last week, I stood in the Rose Garden and heard the president call for a clean energy and climate bill.
Now that the bill has slowed down, it is time for President Obama to step in to stop the finger pointing, and bring people together to get this done this year.
America can’t wait any longer--we NEED a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill now.