Today the Senate will get its hands on the text of the long-awaited energy bill—but it'll be a skeleton of what comprehensive climate change legislation should look like. The bill, scaled back heavily due to Republican opposition and cowardice on behalf of the Democrats, only includes liability for oil spills, promotion of natural gas, energy efficiency and green jobs—no carbon emissions caps. Nation writer Christian Parenti joined guest host and Nation Washington Editor Christopher Hayes on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, explaining that President Obama has the power to implement serious energy policy—with or without the help of the Senate—by having the federal government employ green technologies.
"An easier way would be for the federal government to use the power of the purse to transform the way it is already purchasing energy, buildings, vehicles, to buy clean technology" says Parenti. In his recent article, "The Big Green Buy," Parenti outlines the potential for the federal government to purchase environmentally-friendly technologies in bulk. If the government—which makes up 38 percent of the US economy—buys clean, the price gap between clean and dirty technologies will shrink, making clean technologies affordable to everyone, no Senate hassles involved.