10 February 2010

Climate Change Legislation Buried

The Hill: Climate-change legislation buried under record snowfall in capital

Record snowfall has buried Washington — and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the blizzards that have shut down Congress have made it more difficult to argue that global warming is an imminent danger.

Some Senate Democrats dismiss the role snow has played in the debate, but they acknowledge there is growing consensus that global warming legislation will not pass in the 111th Congress.

The effort to pass global climate change legislation has suffered a succession of blows over the past six months.

One of the most damaging setbacks was the emergence last year of hundreds of private e-mail messages sent among American and British climate scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of East Anglia.

The documents, which were hacked from a university computer server, prompted accusations that researchers may have edited the presentation of data to overstate the threat of warming.

In December, a much-heralded international summit on climate change held in Copenhagen, Denmark, failed to produce the international emissions deal that many environmentalists had wanted. International negotiators did not set any targets for reducing emissions but agreed to a framework that could serve as the basis for an enforceable treaty sometime in the future.

This year, Obama administration officials had to defend a landmark 2007 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that included the unsubstantiated claim that Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035.

Reid promised last month to put a comprehensive energy and climate package on the floor sometime this spring, but lawmakers are growing increasingly skeptical of that plan.

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