By Ben Geman - 08/08/12 06:42 PM EDT
But even if Democrats hold onto their slim Senate majority, legislation to price carbon — whatever its shape — would face long odds winning the 60 Senate votes needed to overcome a near-certain filibuster.
Cap-and-trade has become toxic among Republicans and faces resistance from some conservative Democrats too. Proposals to impose a carbon tax — an idea receiving fresh attention of late (see here, here and here) — would also face very big hurdles if it ever came up.
Reid’s comment to Greenwire followed a speech on climate change in which he tallied the impact of U.S. drought and other extreme weather worldwide, and ripped global warming “deniers.”
“This year alone, the United States has seen unparalleled extreme weather events — events scientists say are exactly what is expected as the earth's climate changes,” Reid said in Tuesday's speech.
“The seriousness of this problem is not lost on your average American. A large majority of people finally believe climate change is real, and that it is the cause of extreme weather. Yet despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fueled and funded by dirty energy profits. These people aren't just on the other side of this debate. They're on the other side of reality,” he said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
The House narrowly passed a sweeping Democratic cap-and-trade and energy bill in 2009, but Senate efforts to advance a climate bill in 2010 sputtered. A scaled-back plan crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) never came up for a vote.
On the flip side, measures to curtail Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulations have also failed to advance in the Senate.