Last week we held a workshop at the Newseum in Washington, DC, entitled Federal Government Leadership: Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change. The workshop was intended to build on our recent report highlighting the important role of the federal government in climate change adaptation and the recent National Academies’ report—Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change—which emphasized that the federal government should not only serve as a “role model,” but also play a significant role as a “catalyst and coordinator” in identifying vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and the adaptation options that could increase our resilience to these changes.
In his defense of soldiers in the Boston Massacre trials, John Adams went on to say “… and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
No matter what we may wish were happening, no matter what spin some may try to sell, the clear evidence of climate change continues to mount.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just released its annual report on the state of the climate, and the facts speak volumes about the pervasiveness and speed of actual climate change, not model projections.
Manik Roy, vice president for federal government outreach, co-wrote this post.
By all indications, the climate bill is done for the year. A casualty of … well, you’ve been hearing the blamefest.
So what’s next?
Unfortunately, none of the problems we sought to fix with the climate bill have been solved by ignoring them.
Power companies and businesses still need to know what carbon emission requirements lie ahead of them before investing millions of dollars in new equipment – especially for carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other low-carbon alternatives.
Provisions in any legislation can be confusing. Trying to compare similar provisions across different bills can compound the confusion. To help make things more clear, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change has released two additional side-by-side comparison charts, one on domestic offset provisions, and the other on international offset provisions, of this Congress’ energy and climate legislation.
Cap and trade has gotten a bad rap. It’s been vilified as a national energy tax, an elaborate Ponzi scheme, and a giveaway to corporate polluters.
While these attacks are wrong, they succeeded in shaping the political discourse around national climate and energy policy, which undoubtedly contributed to last week’s decision by Senate leaders to delay consideration of legislation that would limit greenhouse gas emissions.
This is unfortunate. We need a national policy to reduce emissions, and, as our new white paper shows, cap and trade is still the best, most cost-effective way of doing so. When lawmakers turn their attention back to this issue — as they must — they should make cap and trade a foundational element of the policy response to climate change.