09/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Climate Change Heroes And Villains

It's been a chaotic Congressional recess, what with birthers, doubters, and lobbyist-financed astroturf groups disrupting town hall events screaming about euthanasia, that it's easy to forget how 5 weeks ago there was a whole lot of screaming over the House's courageous passage of The American Clean Energy and Security Act.

During that debate in the House, we saw (as we are seeing now again with health care) that the real battle comes down to whether or not our elected officials have the courage to stand up for what real Americans want. When Congress returns and the debate on Clean Energy continues, the Senate must not pay heed to the small minority that is loudly clinging to the status quo.

Indeed, an overwhelming majority of Americans -- 71 percent to be exact -- support the bill passed in the House, but Washington's allegiance to the energy lobby is so strong that a bill with 71 percent of public support passed narrowly. Let this poll, released today by Zogby, dispel any doubt that Americans that don't work for the energy lobby want clean energy for America now:

A majority of likely voters -- 71 percent -- favors the American
Clean Energy and Security Act recently passed by the House of
Representatives, and two-thirds (67 percent) believe Congress is either doing the right amount (22 percent) or should be doing more (45 percent) to address global warming, new Zogby International telephone poll shows. Just 28 percent believe that Congress is doing too much.

I'll skip the snark about the fact that 28 percent of Americans believe that Congress is doing too much and focus instead on the most important number, 45 percent believe that Congress should be doing more. More than what is in the House bill, not less.

The NRDC Action Fund is taking to the airwaves in four key states to ask a simple question of some key Senators; are you going to be a Hero or Villain? (Full disclosure: I am proud to be part of the NRDC's Action Fund online team.)

In the House, Pennsylvania has its heroes and villains on climate change. Representatives Doyle and Murphy took political risk to side with the American people and voted yes on ACES, while Representatives Gerlach and Holden voted no on clean energy and green jobs. As the bill goes to the Senate, who must strengthen and pass it, what will Arlen Specter do? Be a hero or a villain?

The same question can be asked in Virginia, in Missouri, and in Indiana. In every state, some Representatives voted yes, and some voted no, but as the bill enters this crucial phase these Senators must represent the large majority of Americans who want to do something about climate change.

An overwhelming majority of Americans want to bring better jobs to their communities, end our dangerous addiction to foreign oil, and bring an end to climate change. Unfortunately, we must compete with the disproportionately large and loud influence of the energy lobby in Washington, so make your voice heard.

If you live in those states, here are some chances to go ask the Senators face to face.

Tell your Senator to strengthen and pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act here