Obama May Only Have 'Show of Progress' In Copenhagen

Senate vote on climate bill unlikely before climate change conference

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UPDATE: Democrats today (Nov. 5) ducked a Republican boycott to pass a climate change bill out of a key Senate committee. One senator described the move as a way to prove the United States is serious about fighting global warming.

President Obama hoped to have a climate change bill in hand to strengthen America’s credibility in December at the world climate change conference in Copenhagen—but he may have to settle for a "show of progress" instead. A Republican boycott on the bill this week all but doomed hope of getting a bill passed before the conference.

But, is a "show" enough to convince other countries that the U.S. is no longer the rogue nation it was under Bush? We posed the question to Earthjustice legislative representative Sarah Saylor. Here’s her response:

Anyone watching the process knows that our Congressional leaders are moving the legislative process forward. That bill has cleared two of five key hurdles in the legislative process by passing through committee to the House floor, and through the House floor to the Senate.

The bill is currently being acted upon in committee in the Senate before it will be considered on the Senate floor. The final step is a joint House and Senate conference committee before it goes to the President for his signature. This is good news internationally.

Based on the current draft bill, the Obama administration has a snapshot of where Congress is at this point in time and can negotiate on the basis of that information. But the administration will strengthen its hand by pointing to energy efficiency initiatives and pollution reduction rules to which the administration itself has already committed.

From 2006–2014, Terry was managing editor for Earthjustice's blog, online monthly newsletter and print Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.