President Obama came to Washington promising to break the gridlock on climate change. He claimed an historic victory last week, when the first bill ever to cap carbon emissions passed the House on Friday.
But the celebrations were short lived. Critics, left and right, say the bill is a mess: that it will weigh down a struggling economy. That it’s so riddled with giveaways that it does little to address global warming.
So what exactly is in the bill? Will it stand up in the Senate? And what does it mean for a warming planet?
This hour, On Point: unpacking the climate bill.
Joining us from Washington is John Broder, a reporter for The New York Times. He’s been covering the climate bill in Congress, and his piece in today’s paper takes a close look at the horse trading behind the House bill’s passage.
From New York we’re joined by Elizabeth Kolbert. She’s a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she reports extensively on climate change. Her most recent piece, “The Catastrophist,” profiles climate scientist and activist James Hansen.
And with us in our studio is Robert Stavins. A top environmental economist, he’s a professor of business and government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and director of its Environmental Economics Program. He also co-chairs the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements. His forthcoming book is “Post-Kyoto International Climate Policy.”
Climate blogger Joseph Romm says passing the House bill involved some real twisting of arms. The Wall Street Journal’s “Environmental Capital” blog explains how the bill helps green building efforts. And the environmental news site Grist reports that efficiency efforts were weakened as the bill was hashed out.