Washington: lots of talk about global warming

Lots of talk around the American capital today on the topic of global warming. The CO2 emissions from various political factions and lobbyists alone could raise the global temp another degree or two.

Lots of talk around the American capital today on the topic of global warming. The CO2 emissions from various political factions and lobbyists alone could raise the global temp another degree or two. And that's not counting the carbon footprint of all the plane travel involved in moving these special folks around.

On a grand scale there's a summit meeting between President Obama and leaders of the European Union (EU). The EU's just pledged itself to a 30% cut in greenhouse emissons compared to the 1990 levels. The U.S. has magnanimously suggested a 4% cut as a target, after eight years of refusing any mandates of any kind. The African nations have suggested cancelling global warming talks until there's some serious commitment from the world's wealthiest nations, that would include the U.S. which currently camouflages its great wealth as massive debt. Meanwhile there is much interest in what, if anything, the U.S. is really willing to do.

At their summit today President Obama said the US and the EU agreed to re-double their efforts on climate change. This about five weeks from the international conflab on climate change in Copenhagen. The U.N. has given up any hopes of a global agreement coming out of that conference. There is some indication some nations (like the EU again) will pledge money for efforts to help poorer nations reduce greenhouse gas emissons. Again, that effort is led by the EU whose political leaders generally agree global warming's a real problem. In Britain there's even a strong environmentalist running for Parliament as a Conservative. That guy'd last about five seconds in the Republican Party here.

The EU is also pointing the finger at China, co-champion in greenhouse gas emissions along with the U.S. Why doesn't China do more they ask?

SENATE SHOWDOWN

The showdown started with no-shows. Nothing happened in the Senate committee that is considering the Kerry-Boxer energy and climate change bill. The Republican members boycotted the session. Senate tradition requires at least two members of each party be present as well as a quorum before the "mark-up" process. That process precedes any committee voting. Eventually the committee chairwoman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), can move ahead in violation of tradition but in keeping with the strict rules of the committee. That is considered by Republican analysts as a "nuclear" option which would rule out forever and forever any possible Republican votes in favor of said Kerry-Boxer bill. Currently the bill already has zero Republican support. Sadly for Kerry, Boxer and their supporters, the bill lacks support from some Dems and that could keep it from ever coming to a vote on the Senate floor. Though it is possible a Dem would vote to close debate allowing a floor vote and then go on record by voting against the bill itself. This political drama will continue to play out. Not likely the Senate will have finished its acting, or action, on Kerry-Boxer before the Copenhagen talks next month.