Congress has returned to work on one of the most ambitious legislative agendas we have seen in years. What does this mean for people who support clean energy and climate legislation?
It means the urgency has never been greater. Three forceful deadlines are looming ever closer:
- The Earth's Deadline: Key studies this year have found that global warming is accelerating faster than previously thought and that climate change impacts are already impacting our lives.
- The Economy's Deadline: Despite sightings of green shoots, our economy remains in desperate need of capital investment and job creation--the very things that a climate bill will unleash on a grand scale.
- The International Community's Deadline: In less than 100 days, climate negotiators will meet in Copenhagen to devise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. If the United States shows up empty handed, China, India, and other nations can say they are off the hook.
Let's not forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set his own deadline: He said he intends to pass a climate bill by the end of the year.
Last week, Senators Boxer and Kerry announced they would delay the drop of their draft climate bill a few weeks. In the meantime, NRDC will urge Senators Boxer and Kerry to include strong targets and firm timetables in their draft to get America moving on the path to addressing climate change.
And as the draft emerges, we will take Senator Reid at his word that the bill will come to a vote before the year is over. Indeed, we will hold him to it.
Because while the health care debate may have slowed the climate bill down, it is our job to move it forward again. We will get that job done in the field.
The Washington Post
that the majority of Americans support President Obama's clean energy policies. The environmental community is combining forces with labor unions, religious communities, business leaders, and the youth movement to carry the voices of those millions of Americans to elected officials.
We have already accomplished a great deal. We spent the summer helping to pass
the House climate bill, exposing fraud
within the dirty fuel lobby's opposition, and responding to genuine excitement for the clean energy opportunities among America's workers. I saw it myself last week when I attended
a Made In America rally with steelworkers in Gary, Indiana.
We will build on that work. Our major media and grassroots campaign will reach out to senators in their home districts, and we won't let up if their support for green jobs waivers.
I look at the next few months as among the most challenging in my career. There is a lot of organized opposition to change, even though that is what President Obama was elected to do. Indeed, despite the misleading right-wing onslaught, recent polling shows just how popular clean energy legislation is with most Americans.
Still, it will take a relentless drumbeat of support to drown out the industry's fear mongering.
That won't be an easy task. You can help by clicking here and telling your senators you support this bill.
And remember, since the House passed a clean energy and climate bill back in June, we are half way there.
This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.