Senate Democrats switch focus off climate change bill

Capitol Hill at sunrise

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: Senate Democrats have given up on passing a major climate change bill this summer. That means no carbon cap or carbon tax. Instead, they will concentrate on a more modest energy package
focusing on more popular things, like oil spill regulation. Joining us live to talk about this is Marketplace's John Dimsdale in Washington. Good morning, John.

John Dimsdale: Good morning, Bill.

Radke: Why is the energy bill being abandoned now?

Dimsdale: Well, you know, cutting carbon emissions was a major goal of the Obama administration, but Democrats say they just can't get any support from Republicans for either a cap and trade system, where polluters would have to buy credits for the greenhosue gases they release, or an outright tax on carbon. But realistically, there was little chance of getting 60 votes for something like that in a fragile economy, because even Democrats worried about the extra costs to the economy -- costs for generating electricity, costs of manufacturing, transportation and the like.

Radke: So what kind of package could pass this year?

Dimsdale: Tightening up rules on oil drilling and dealing with spills, a set of rebates for homeowners who invest in more efficient furnaces and air conditioners, maybe some incentives for long-haul trucks to switch from oil and diesel to natural gas. These have plenty of bipartisan agreement and could probabbly easily pass soon.

Radke: Marketplace's John Dimsdale reporting on the climate bill from Washington. Thank you, John.

Dimsdale: You're welcome.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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