The Senate Republican leadership is responsible for the Senate’s inability to reduce global warming pollution. They bullied many of their fellow senators into helping their big oil and big coal allies by avoiding talks over a program that would create jobs, reduce oil use, and slash pollution. Thanks to Republican leaders, China will continue to expand its clean energy industry and jobs, we will spend $1 billion a day on foreign oil, and power plants will spew billions of pounds of pollution.
It’s up to the Obama administration to promptly comply with the Supreme Court by using EPA’s authority to reduce global warming pollution. The White House must also launch a vigorous defense of that authority in the face of attacks from big oil, big coal, and their congressional allies.
The United States must reduce oil use. The president has taken important steps to do this with the first improvement in fuel economy standards in 20 years. He must continue this process, as well as using all existing tools to speed the development and deployment of electric cars and natural gas trucks.
It is unfortunate that the Republican leaders could stymie action on climate change legislation during the hottest month of the hottest year following the hottest decade on record. They are spending too much time in air-conditioned special interest fundraisers and not enough time outside talking to Americans who want jobs, security, and health protection.
We are pleased that HOME STAR and natural gas trucks will be part of the oil disaster response bill that the Senate plans to debate. Both policies will create jobs and reduce oil use.
Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), John Kerry (D-MA), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) have labored mightily to overcome GOP obstruction, and deserve credit for devising proposals that create jobs, cut oil use, and slash pollution will protecting families’ wallets.
Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow at American Progress.