From Energy and Environment News (subscription required):
CLIMATE: Pelosi says House can pass cap and trade, but timetable is uncertain
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said today that she has enough votes to pass cap-and-trade legislation aimed at curbing the effects of global warming but would not commit to holding a vote in 2009.
Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, Pelosi said she has sufficient backing in the Democratic-controlled House to move a cap-and-trade bill, but will not force the issue. “I’m not sure this year, because I don’t know if we’ll be ready,” Pelosi said. “We won’t go before we’re ready.”
Pelosi acknowledged the December deadline looming over U.N. negotiations toward a new international climate change agreement. “We’re sensitive to Copenhagen and the rest of that,” she said, referring to the Denmark capital that will host the next annual U.N. conference. “And it’s a very high priority for me.”
But Pelosi said she could not guarantee that President-elect Barack Obama would be able to sign a cap-and-trade law before Copenhagen.
“I would certainly hope so, but I can’t tell you that that is the case right now,” she said. “Of all the bills that we have done, you know I sort of know the policies, I know what the possibilities are, this is the most, should we say, controversial, not controversial, mysterious.”
Pelosi added, “There’s so many ways we can go. We’re seeing, studying what the Europeans did. They had to have some trial and error in what they did. And I think we have to be very careful, because we have to do it right, with cap and trade. We have to do it right. I don’t think we can take any chances. So this is going to take some very thorough scrutiny as to how we go forward.”
Incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) will take the lead in 2009 on a climate cap-and-trade bill. But to date, Waxman has not spelled out his plans for that legislation.
“To be determined,” replied Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Pelosi’s point person on global warming issues, when asked today about prospects for global warming legislation. . . .
Asked about her expectations for the timing of cap-and-trade legislation, Pelosi replied, “I don’t know what the timetable will be. A lot of that will relate to how quickly we get through the recovery, whatever else we’re doing, and when the bill will be ready. I don’t think it’s ready.”
Oh, dear. So much for all of that “we must act now… you’re irresponsible” business (weren’t we just told “Time is our enemy, and every expert has told us we face dangerous consequences from unchecked global warming if we do not address this problem now”?) Must have been misquoted. Thousands of times. Even under our own by-lines!
A rule in Washington is that things slip, they do not get moved up or move faster than one expects or predicts, notwithstanding the bailout and looming “green jobs” pork — projects that everyone knows could only pass with a hair-on-fire panic that, in practical terms, is simply not available to the cap-and-trade rationing regime that’s been kicking around for, well, eight years in which the planet has cooled.
But notice what’s being set up here: President-Elect Obama has indicated he wants to bring an enacted U.S. position to the talks because it would make no sense to agree to anything internationally without the knowledge that Congress would go along, as we “now” know.
And Congressional Democrats are saying that — despite all of their past “we know the problem we know the solution boo hoo you’re mean” tantrums of the past eight years — they just aren’t ready to figure out what to do, and just don’t think they’ll have it done by then. Such a timeline is, just, you know (as the fashionable saying goes) . . .
Each gets to blame someone else. And the world’s response will be, well, at least it’s something different from George W. Bush (showing the selfsame disinterest in imposing this mess on the U.S). The great fun will be in examining the entrails to discern why each previously spittle-flecked advocate has calmed down. Is it because a backdoor Kyoto II is now understood? They realize that pushing this agenda now could mean defeat, what with the economy and temperatures and other such inconveniences? This was really about Bush all along? As I say, this will be fun.
Also, we’re supposed to believe the Dems want to kick this into an election year. Mmm hmm. So, reality now moves us into 2011, the upside of which schedule is that the scheme cannot possibly be enacted in time for the pain to be an issue in the re-election campaign. Also, they likely assume (and we all hope), the economy will be sufficiently recovered such that posturing politicians can resume the sort of policy foolishness for which wealthy nations are becoming notorious (in such a way that, I suspect, history will not judge kindly).
Then again, the warming is not actually expected even by the alarmists to pick up again for decades, which is not just a clever response to the embarrassing cooling but always a safe prediction given climate’s cyclical nature. Yet continued cooling should finally cause this issue’s shelf life to expire.
I have seen the momentum, and it is us. Or something like that.