Ruling US administration and Republican senators kill US climate change plan news
07 June 2008

The US continues to remain the biggest consumer and polluter of the planet's resources even as it exhorts developing nations like India and China to consume less, spend less, and in general be less comfortable.

In a continuation of its hypocritical stance towards the environment, the ruling administration has weighed heavily against an anti-pollution bill that had recently come up for discussion in the US Senate.

Because of the rigid stance employed by the Republicans, including the sitting pesident, a landmark plan to fight climate change was defeated today in the US Senate, likely postponing action on carbon emissions limits until after this autumn's presidential election.

The climate bill was defeated, 48-36, with 60 votes needed to end Republican obstruction.

Democrats had hoped that summer would be an opportune time to debate emissions caps. But Republicans seized an opening to claim that the bill - which requires emissions reductions by more than 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2050 - would increase gas prices, an extremely touchy topic amongst the American public nowadays.

"We saw this morning yet another example of Bush-McCain Republicans refusing to address one of the most important issues of our time," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.

"Senator McCain says global warming is one of his top issues, but when he has the chance to do something about it, he doesn't even show up to work." The Republican presidential nominee was not present during the proceedings.

Neither Obama nor Hillary Clinton attended the vote, signalling that Democratic leaders anticipated the bill's failure.

The US green movement expressed dismay at the political wrangling that killed the proposal. Still, environmental groups cheered the Senate for taking the first step towards addressing an issue that will have more momentum after Bush leaves office.

Bush, during an earlier White House event that focused on keeping taxes low, said the Senate bill "would impose roughly $6 trillion in new costs on the American economy." The president in the past has expressed opposition to mandatory limits on carbon dioxide and other pollution linked to global warming.

"There's a much better way to address the environment than imposing these costs ... which will ultimately have to be borne by American consumers," said Bush, who has favored voluntary efforts and technology innovation to address global warming.

At that point of time White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had said Bush would veto the bill as it stood, but said it seemed unlikely the legislation would clear the Senate anyway. Seems she was right.

The bill would have required an 18 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases below 2005 levels by 2020 and about 70 per cent below that level by 2050. Some sources would not be covered, so the overall US emission reductions would be by about two-thirds by 2050.

The bill had recently picked up support from a dozen unions, the nation's mayors, a number of governors such as Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and religious groups. But many business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, have criticised the measure as too costly. The charge against the bill has been lead by those that would be most affected including the oil and coal industries.

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Ruling US administration and Republican senators kill US climate change plan