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We Haven't Peaked Yet -- Stay the Course

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Washington, DC -- This was the advice a House Committee Chair, one of our strongest allies, who told me yesterday, "Don't rush into compromises when we can get more next month, but be ready to move when the timing is ripe." A few hours earlier, Henry Waxman, the new Chair of the House Investigations and Oversight Committee, had begun the new era of Congressional oversight by exploring the ways in which the Bush Administration had censored and suppressed the science on global warming. There, on CSPAN, every 15 seconds, flashed the trailer "Investigation of Suppression of Climate Science." And there squirmed a series of Administration witnesses, defending the indefensible.

Also yesterday: Senator Barbara Boxer, the new Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, began the task of trying to assemble a consensus on eventual legislation to cap emissions of carbon dioxide. And this morning, the solutions part of the puzzle got a lot clearer, when the Sierra Club and the American Solar Energy Association released a new report, Tackling Climate Change in the US, which lays out a detailed roadmap for reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. The strategy focuses on efficiency and renewables, and meeting our economic needs without additional reliance on gas, nuclear, or so-called "clean coal." At mid-point, in 2030, the report says that we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over a billion metric tons of carbon per year. Fifty-seven percent of the savings comes from efficiency, 15 percent from wind, and the remainder from other renewables.

Capitol Hill is buzzing with word of new coalitions emerging, previously hard-line global warming deniers seeking legislative vehicles, and the White House looking increasingly irrelevant. But as my friend said, we haven't peaked yet.