Following a speech that many observers here saw as among the most forceful confrontations of climate change in recent memory by a high-ranking government official, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes the Senate will take up a bill to put a price on carbon emissions if Democrats maintain control of the chamber next year.
“We certainly can’t stay where we are; we have to do something,” Reid told Greenwire yesterday as he browsed exhibits at his National Clean Energy Summit 5.0.
Asked whether the Senate would return to climate legislation aimed at adding a price to carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions, Reid said, “I hope so.”
Earlier in the day, Reid opened the annual summit, which he hosts alongside the liberal Center for American Progress, with a stemwinder of a speech accusing those who deny the reality of climate change of being out of touch with reality and calling for Nevada’s main utility to shutter a coal-fired power plant north of Las Vegas. Reid said those who dismiss the connection between increased greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures and severe weather “aren’t just on the other side of this debate. They’re on the other side of reality” (E&ENews PM, Aug. 7).
“Harry Reid is not just taking on Romney — he’s taking on climate deniers, too,” environmental activist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, wrote on Twitter after Reid’s speech yesterday.
How to address climate change has been a fairly dormant subject on Capitol Hill for the last two years, after a push for cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the Senate and Democrats lost control of the House in a 2010 election marked by GOP attacks on moderates who supported the bill. Congressional Democrats and President Obama rarely mention climate change, even as they tout efforts to promote renewable electricity, alternative fuels and energy efficiency.