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Deep freeze ahead for carbon cap bills


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When it comes to global warming, the environmental lobby is going on defense.

Stung by the failure to secure a Senate vote on climate and energy legislation and wary of a possible GOP-led Congress, leaders at some of the country’s most influential green groups are moving cash and staff away from cap and trade.

Environment America, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists, with more than 2.5 million members combined, now consider it their top job to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to write climate rules against attacks in the courts and on Capitol Hill.

“The era of the big bill I think is over,” said an environmentalist whose group has not yet come out publicly on the issue.

The groups are also hoping to defend and expand on state and regional climate laws and compacts, including a carbon market for power plants operating in the Northeast and emerging systems in the West. And they will work at the state public utility commission level to make carbon dioxide emissions a crux in reviewing permits for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

The Sierra Club is spending $18 million and has 100 people across the country working on challenges to coal-fired electricity, said Michael Brune, the group’s executive director. He hopes to increase the budget to $25 million next year.

“We don’t think we can fight climate change without getting a comprehensive, economy-wide cap,” Brune said. “At the same time, we think in the short term, more significant gains can be achieved by focusing on other strategies.”

Kevin Knobloch, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, doesn’t want to give up on cap and trade as the method of curbing carbon dioxide emissions, but said it’s apparent the next window for such a bill won’t be until 2013 – assuming President Barack Obama either wins a second term or a climate-friendly Republican takes office.

“My sense is you never say die, even if we have fewer climate champions than today, that we still need to work with Congress to get a cap in place,” Knobloch said. “But its probability is going to be quite low to achieve that until after the next presidential election.”

Meanwhile, the environmental community is split over any shift in emphasis away from cap and trade.

Two green heavies – Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council – aren’t giving up the fight. Combined, they employ several dozen experts, from attorneys to economists and public-health scientists.snip
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Yeah. We have a Like now?????



I made it from pieces and posted it in the shared graphics file in the gallery. Couldn't stand it without one! :lol:

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