From correspondent Greg Kaufmann, a dispatch from Al Gore's testimony on the hill:
Al Gore was back on the hill today, telling the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations what Congress needs to do to turnaround the global warming crisis and prepare for the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December.
The hearing was way long -- like three hours way long.
I kept wondering if Al wonders how many times he will have to give this talk before Congress does what everyone knows it needs to do.
One sign that maybe we're not as far along toward a sane climate policy as we'd like to think we are occurred when -- during Gore's testimony -- a Republican aide passed out a press release entitled "Updated US Senate Minority Report: Over 650 International Scientists Dispute Man-Made Global Warming Claims. Updated Senate Report Further Debunks ‘Consensus'".
But for the non-brain dead among us Gore had a clear message: 1) pass the green provisions of Obama's recovery plan (he called them "unprecedented and critical investments in… energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars"); 2) pass a cap and trade system this year -- as many states have already done; and 3) sign and ratify a treaty in Copenhagen that addresses -- among other things -- deforestation (responsible for 20% of emissions that cause global warming), binding commitments for reducing CO2 emissions, aid to developing countries to help them adapt to the worst impacts of the climate crisis, and a verification regime.
After praising the President's Recovery proposal and the House version of it (H.R.1) as "outstanding," he proceeded to call out the Senate version: "I'm very concerned that the [Senate Finance] Committee version would result in a complete screeching halt to any construction of solar facilities or wind facilities on a significant scale anywhere in the United States." Gore also said the Senate version "has a serious problem compared to the House bill" in not giving the utilities the right incentives for efficiency, conservation, and renewables as opposed to just selling more dirty energy.
Chris wrote recently about finding "choke points… in DC that thwart needed reform." I think Mr. Gore did us a favor by giving us the heads up on one today.