Friday, November 6, 2009

Enviros (and business) split over climate bill

Both the environmental and business communities are undergoing internal disputes over climate-change legislation.

Washington Post
environmental writer David A. Fahrenthold
reports today that a " curious debate has broken out among American environmental groups, as the Senate balkily starts
to focus on the threat of climate change."

Some groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, he says, are no loner using scare tactics in their ads. Instead, they're trying to win votes for the legislation by talking about how it would create "green jobs" and lessen the need for oil imports.

This approach isn't sitting well with other, smaller environmental groups, he says. They fear that the new approach "might send the signal that a weaker bill is acceptable."

Meanwhile, monolithic business opposition to climate change legislation continues to crumble.

A new group of businesses - including retail giant Gap Inc. and several large utility companies - joined the lobbying fray over climate change on Wednesday, arguing that Congress must pass legislation to limit greenhouse gases as soon as possible.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "American Businesses for Clean Energy will push for passage at the same time that other business groups, most notably the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, try to block or change global warming bills wending their way through Congress.

"We're way behind in taking action, and we need to go now," said Tom King, president of National Grid U.S., a utility serving parts of New England and New York."

In the latest change of lobbying tactics, if not intent, the Chamber of Commerce, which has suffered the defections of several large members who object to the group's opposition to climate change legislation, apparently now is modifying its position.

Have an opinion you'd like to share on the climate change bill or the lobbying positions or tactics of the environmental or business communities? Use the opinion box below. If one isn't open, click on the tiny 'comments' line below to activate it. You can remain anonymous, if you'd like, but signed comments are appreciated.

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