July 22 appears likely to mark a significant turning point in the long global warming/climate change control saga. Yesterday, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, announced that the Senate would not consider legislation prior to the August recess that involved either cap and trade/tax or a renewable electricity standard. Although this outcome had been predicted for some time by some Republican senators such as James Inhofe, this amounts to a recognition of this reality by the Senate Democratic leadership. This decision makes it unlikely that such legislation will be approved this year. If, as some Republicans hope, the next Congress has more Republican members, such legislation would be even less likely in the next Congress. There remains a risk that such legislation would be passed in a lame-duck session at the end of 2010, but that may not be a strong possibility given the apparent lack of interest by all Senate Republicans and some Democrats.
So the only remaining realistic possibility for implementation of carbon emission controls is probably through actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On June 10 the Senate failed by a vote of 47/53 to disapprove the EPA Endangerment Finding of late 2009. It is possible, however, that a two year delay in EPA action will be approved by Congress later this year in accordance with a proposal by Senator Jay Rockefeller. But if this or other ways can be found to halt EPA’s efforts the remaining major risk of global “climate control” would be effectively ended in the US.
This development yesterday is likely to sooner or later result in the end of world support for such approaches if a way is found to end EPA’s threatened regulations. Those countries that choose to continue major governmental efforts to reduce carbon emissions will soon find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to those that do not. Few countries are likely to be willing to take such risks with their economies for very long.