Adding More Transportation to the Climate Change Mix

7_6_09_climate_change.jpgU.S. greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2007.  Image: FHWA Global Warming Brochure

Nate Silver’s new analysis
of the state of play on climate change in the Senate makes a convincing
argument that a carbon cap-and-trade system can become law this year.

In fact, it raises the question of whether two senators ranked
as unlikely yes votes can be won over by beefing up the climate bill’s
treatment of transportation emissions beyond what was passed in the House.

Silver’s
analysis gives Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller
(D-WV) a 17 percent chance of voting for climate legislation, thanks to
his state’s red-tinged voting pattern and reliance on the coal
industry. But it’s hard to see Rockefeller opposing a climate bill that
includes his proposal
to reduce national  transportation-based emissions by 40 percent by
2030 — which would go a long way towards meeting overall targets for
greenhouse gas reduction.

And what about Sen. George
Voinovich (D-OH), who reminded fellow members of the Environment and
Public Works Committee last month that a new transportation bill would
go a long way towards reducing emissions?

Voinovich hails from an industrial state, and he supported a filibuster of last year’s Senate climate bill.
Still, he sounds susceptible to an argument from Democratic leaders
that in the absence of a broad federal transportation bill this year,
it’s important to tackle the issue during the climate change debate.

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