Report: U.S. Senate Unlikely to Pass Cap-and-Trade in 2010


Now that the Copenhage Climate Change Change Conference has ended without a major treaty, the question remains whether the U.S. Senate will pass climate change legislation. Congress earlier this year passed sweeping climate change legislation imposing a cap-and-trade program. A similar bill introduced in the Senate has since stalled.

After a brusing debate over controversial health-care legislation, is reporting that a number of moderate Senate Democrats are indicating that they are unwilling to tackle climate chnage legislation, especially during this economic downturn. According to the article:

The creation of an economy-wide market for greenhouse gas emissions is as the heart of the climate bill that cleared the House earlier this year. But with the health care fight still raging and the economy still hurting, moderate Democrats have little appetite for another sweeping initiative – especially another one likely to pass with little or no Republican support.                                                     

“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economy-wide cap and trade “unlikely.”

This does not mean, however, that greenhouse gases will escape federal oversight. Earlier this month the Obama Administration announced its endangerment finding, setting the stage for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. In addition, as The Wall Street Journal discusses in its editorial pages this morning, the issue of climate change is entering the federal courts as environmental groups seek to impose significant damages on entities that emit greenhouse gases.

The Hamilton Consulting Regulatory Watch website will continue to track the issue at all levels over the upcoming months.