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Climate Change

Adding More Transportation to the Climate Change Mix

4:58 PM EDT on July 6, 2009

v0001261.jpg...How about this one? (Photo: Wellsy's World)
R000361.jpgIs this senator gettable for the climate bill? (Photo: Washington Post)

Nate Silver's new analysis of the state of play on climate change in the Senate makes a convincing argument that a carbon cap-and-trade system can become law this year.

In fact, it raises the question of whether two senators ranked as unlikely yes votes can be won over by beefing up the climate bill's treatment of transportation emissions beyond what was passed in the House.

Silver's analysis gives Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) a 17 percent chance of voting for climate legislation, thanks to his state's red-tinged voting pattern and reliance on the coal industry. But it's hard to see Rockefeller opposing a climate bill that includes his proposal to reduce national  transportation-based emissions by 40 percent by 2030 -- which would go a long way towards meeting overall targets for greenhouse gas reduction.

And what about Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), who reminded fellow members of the Environment and Public Works Committee last month that a new transportation bill would go a long way towards reducing emissions?

Voinovich hails from an industrial state, and he supported a filibuster of last year's Senate climate bill. Still, he sounds susceptible to an argument from Democratic leaders that in the absence of a broad federal transportation bill this year, it's important to tackle the issue during the climate change debate.

(ed. note. A typo in an earlier version of this post mis-labeled Voinovich's party. Thanks to the commenter in question.)

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