Friday, July 3, 2009

The U.S. Energy and Climate Change Bull fight

It seems that India is not the only nation with the bright idea of using Climate Change as fodder for politics. One can recall how Climate Change played an important role in the election campaigns early this year, while in the U.S., it was pushing ahead with the controversial Energy Bill that formed a significant part of Obama’s campaign. And now, with the recent passing of the landmark Energy and Climate Change Bill by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, both sides of the energy debate are upping the ante politically on a war-footing. Just like our very own Indian vote-bank political manoeuvres of weakening fence-straddling politicians and tinkering with legislative drafts.

While the liberal Netroots are planning a full-fledged media battle against senators who may not vote for a liberal version of the Bill in the upcoming session at the Senate, the Democrats are jittery they will lose ground if they do not strengthen the energy bill as committed during the election campaigns. Then again, the Republicans are planning a mass media crusade with TV and Radio ads and robo-calls aimed at undermining the confidence of those Democrats who voted for the legislation, with an eye on the 2010 elections.

In this Energy Bill circus, there are also those 44 Democrats on the defensive, who voted against the Bill, thinking it was not worth the dollars needed to push through, and the oddball 8 Republicans who conversely opted to vote for the Bill.

As the war hots up, MoveOn.org, a liberal grassroots advocacy group, has sent out an email to its 5 milion members, asking whether to “turn up the heat on senators who might be tempted to side with Big Oil and Coal."

On the ringside, Greenpeace, which opposes the energy legislation for the concessions to polluting industries, has also appealed for support for legislation to end global warming.

The conservatives who voted against the Bill are obviously worried that they may have to give up their SUVs. The Liberals, are on the other hand worried about the state of the planet in 2099. It’s a sticky situation with the short-sighted Conservatives pitted against the long-sighted Liberals.

As the environmental and Oil-Coal lobbyists watch this much-hyped historical legislation with varying degrees of frenzied anticipation, it is not exactly a foregone conclusion who will emerge as winner from this fracas of Climate Change legislation fraight with polarised mandates.

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