The drive for action that has seen four major bills offered in the Senate, and big companies and utilities like General Electric, Alcoa and PG&E of California joining hands, has been augmented by a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce from its new chairman saying he would put climate change at the top of the agenda and invite Al Gore to testify first.
A New York Times editorial said Gore should quickly accept. The support of committee-chair and Michigan Democrat John Dingell will be essential to any real progress on curbing carbon emissions.
“In recent years, serious discussion of climate change has been largely confined to the Senate,” the Times editorial said. “But laws must be passed by both chambers, and if anything is to happen in the House, it will need Mr. Dingell’s participation and consent.”
Dingell, 80, is a veteran of 51 years in the House who has played a pivotal role in pushing through nearly every cornerstone environmental law, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and laws protecting wilderness and endangered species.
Although he supported fuel economy standards years ago, his loyalties to Detroit have led him to oppose further restrictions. As for global warming, he has said he needs to be convinced the consequences are truly worth worrying about, and if they are, that the problem can be addressed without bankrupting the country.