News

US Conservatives Wary of Climate Change Mandates

Some Americans feel cost of climate change legislation is greater than benefit

Some Americans feel cost of climate change legislation is greater than benefit
Some Americans feel cost of climate change legislation is greater than benefit

Multimedia

Climate change legislation, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, appears stalled in the Senate.  Many conservatives in America simply don't want it. 

"No country is more important than the United States in resolving these climate change issues," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hosted an important guest some weeks back.  Moon is a strong voice on the need for mandated changes in greenhouse gas emissions.

But climate change legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives, appears stalled in the Senate, in line behind healthcare and financial services reform.  The bills would require cuts in U.S CO2 emissions.

Democratic Senator John Kerry says passage before Copenhagen won't happen. "We hope to be headed to Copenhagen with an outline at least of where our legislation is going at least on the floor of the Senate," he said.

Climate policy analyst Jake Schmidt says passing strong legislation promptly is crucial if the U.S. is to be a leader on the environment. "Well clearly before we are really credible players in international eyes, we have to have domestic legislation that enforces our commitments," he said.

The White House says the president will propose at Copenhagen a U.S. emissions target of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

David Kreutzer is an economist who tracks climate change for the conservative Heritage Foundation. He says the Senate bill faces hurdles, much like the bill in the House did.

"One of the problems is that the Waxman-Markey bill, the one in the House, passed only by 7 votes after a lot of wheeling and dealing and horse-trading and so on and that was right before the 4th of July break and it turned out it was fairly unpopular when legislators went home," he said.

Kreutzer and other conservatives insist that legislation curbing C02 emissions will cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars and do little to bring down global temperature.

Kreutzer urges President Obama to just say no in Copenhagen to binding  mandates. "The real leadership that we should offer is to say this is a bad deal," he said. "This cutting carbon imposes a cost on the world economy that far exceeds any benefits."

Kreutzer is also against proposals for developed countries to help fund the clean up of developing nations.   "The citizens of the United States aren't at all convinced that we have a global warming problem that is severe enough for a blank check solution," he stated.

Environmentalists like the Earth Policy Institute's Janet Larsen say this is dangerous talk. She's attending the conference in Copenhagen.

"The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at about 387 parts per million.  That's a level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the world may not have seen in the last 50 million years, so we are clearly moving into un-charted territory," she said.

One of the goals of Copenhagen is to lay the groundwork for an international treaty that binds nations in the area of climate change.  The Senate would have to ratify the treaty for it to take effect in the U.S.   

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs