The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is already wreaking devastating ecological effects
. So does that mean that
now is the time for Democrats to argue for climate
change legislation and a reduction to our dependence on fossil fuels?
Surprisingly, maybe not. Pundits are suggesting that the spill actually
makes climate change legislation less likely, revealing the sometimes
ugly politics of climate and energy.
- Makes Key Agreements Less
Likely The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman reports,
"the catastrophic spill could further dim the White House's hopes for
securing legislation aimed at reducing U.S. consumption of oil and other
fossil fuels, by making it impossible to forge a compromise that
includes expanded undersea drilling." Why? "Key Democrats said the spill
should drive Congress forward on legislation to address climate change
... But some Democratic and Republican senators said the incident makes
progress on energy and climate legislation less likely. Coastal
senators, such as Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Bill
Nelson of Florida, vowed to block expanded drilling in any bill."
Passing Up Golden Opportunity Grist's David Roberts sighs, "Obama
is not going to do an all-out push. If nothing else, his response to the
Gulf oil disaster has made that clear. If he was looking for an
opportunity to drive home the clean energy message, this was it -- the
Katrina of fossil fuels. Yet all he's done is blandly reaffirm his
support for offshore drilling."
- ...Or Is He? The
Washington Post's Ezra Klein suspects Obama may
be waiting it out. "The Deepwater spill is best understood as a
national tragedy, and until the crisis phase is over, it would be both
political suicide and simply indecent to subsume it into a larger
argument about clean energy, oil dependence and climate change."
Congress Rise to the Challenge? The New York Times' Thomas Friedman argues,
"The only meaningful response to this man-made disaster is a man-made
energy bill that would finally put in place an American clean-energy
infrastructure that would set our country on a real, long-term path to
ending our addiction to oil."
- Just More 'Lip Service' Rachel Maddow is not
optimistic. "We have to continue to go forward just as we've always
done, just as we've done for decades over and over and over again with
each successive oil spill, explosion and fire. Prices paid in lives and
lands and in economies. And yet, at the same time, every president in
the modern era has paid some amount of lip service to our country's
dependency on oil and other fossil fuels."
- Shows Our Twisted
Morals The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan laments,
"At some point, those of us who see our relationship to the natural
world as something more than mere economics - as something sacred - need
to face up to the fact that our civilization is not taking this
sacredness seriously enough. When do we ask ourselves: by what right do
humans believe we can despoil the earth for every other species with
- Harry Reid Challenges 'Surreal' Assumptions
The New Republic's Brad Plumer shakes his
head. "Yes, it's surreal that the [conventional wisdom] in
Washington is that a massive oil disaster might make it more
difficult to pass a big energy bill intended to wean us off from fossil
fuels." But Plumer notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, pushing
back, recently said, "I think it should spur it on. ...We have to take
care of this issue."
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