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Snowfall Now A Factor In Climate Change Debate

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

For the past week, the primary topic of conversation in Washington, D.C. has been the record snowfall that continues to bury the city. Now some Republican lawmakers are citing the blizzard as a reason to kill comprehensive climate change legislation.

Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] tweeted, “It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’”

When asked about the prospects of cap-and-trade legislation limiting carbon emissions, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] sarcastically asked, “Where’s Al Gore when we need him?”

And the family of Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK] the other day built an igloo on the National Mall and placed a sign next to it that read “AL GORE’S NEW HOME!’ and “HONK IF YOU [HEART] GLOBAL WARMING.”

Liberal bloggers, however, note that this snowfall was predicted last year and does not dispute global warming.

But even Democrats are acknowledging the impact the snow is having on the climate change debate:

“It makes it more challenging for folks not taking time to review the scientific arguments,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM]. “People see the world around them and they extrapolate. I think that it’s hard to see an economy-wide cap-and-trade [proposal] of the type that passed the House could prevail.”

Bingaman has introduced a couple bills (S.1462 and S.2857) encouraging the use of clean energy technologies in lieu of a system to regulate carbon emissions.

As the Senate struggles to pass comprehensive climate change legislation to accompany the House bill (H.R.2454) passed last year, advocates of capping carbon emissions are not giving up.

Sen. John Kerry [D, MA], who introduced his own cap-and-trade bill (S.1733), says those who are predicting the death of comprehensive climate change legislation are “dead wrong.” Kerry vows to continue pushing the issue this year.

But Kerry’s fight will continue to get harder as the debate shifts from regulating carbon to jobs and clean energy.

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