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In Washington, Climate and Energy Moves A Bit

Now that passage of health care legislation proved that Congress is still capable of acting on big ideas, Washington this week was aflutterwith action on the climate and energy bill. White House LegislativeAffairs Director Phil Schiliro, and the president’s energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner, met mid-week with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Topic: developing a strategy to corral the 60 votes needed to pass the measure in the Senate.

The same day the chairmen of several Senate committees with jurisdiction over climate and energy met with Reid. And Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman spent time with freshman
Democrats on the proposal the three senior lawmakers are hoping to introduce in April. Letters in support of comprehensive action on climate and clean energy also are flying around Washington.

One of those freshman Democrats, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, drafted and sent to Reid a letter signed by 21 other Democrats that urged a vote before the end of the year. “Our lack of a comprehensive clean energy policy hurts job creation and increases regulatory uncertainty throughout our economy,” wrote Udall. “Businesses are waiting on Congress before investing billions in
energy, transportation, manufacturing, building and other sectors.”

The letter came just a few days after the senator’s father, Stewart L. Udall, the Interior century’s greatest environmental leaders, died at age 90.

Another letter, signed by 23 climate action groups was sent to the White House, the EPA, and five cabinet secretaries urging the administration to make good on the commitments it made in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Accord, negotiated in the climate summit’s final hours by President Obama and the heads of 20 other nations, calls for $30 billion in international aid over the next three years to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and to support adaptation, technology development, and capacity building. The accord also encouraged developed nations to commit to “mobilizing jointly $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing

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