Who’s Backing the Climate Bill?

Photo by Kate Sheppard.


When Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman and the now-out-of-the-picture Lindsey Graham were working on their climate legislation, they made a big deal of courting support from the biggest foes of such a policy. They held numerous meetings with groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, and Kerry made much of the anticipated support from three large oil companies: Shell, ConnocoPhillips, and BP. A number of business and environmental leaders stood with Kerry and Lieberman at yesterday’s roll out (although the oil companies were laying low.) Did all the senators’ courting pay off? Well, not exactly. The reactions from various interests groups to the long-awaited bill were lukewarm at best. 

The Chamber’s chief lobbyist, Bruce Josten, praised the senators for “their work to constructively engage the business community on these issues,” but maintained that the bill is still “a work in progress.” American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard said the bill “reflects the complex relationship between the U.S. energy system and greenhouse gas emissions which come from every car, home, factory and farm in America.” He added the group would need more time to consider the full bill before endorsing it.

And how about the environmentalists? A coalition of 22 environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), issued a statement praising Kerry and Lieberman for releasing a bill that “jumpstarts the Senate debate over America’s energy future.” But individual groups expressed concerns about some provisions. Larry Schweiger, head of the National Wildlife Federation said the offshore provisions are “a beginning, but we have to improve, learn from what happened” in the Gulf.

Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC, said it is “too soon to say where NRDC stands on every aspect of the bill.” But Beinecke criticized both the offshore drilling provisions and the nuclear incentives, calling the $54 billion in loan guarantees “excessive” and the proposed streamlining of licensing for new plants “ill-advised.”

Leftier green groups were even more critical. Friends of the Earth called it a “dangerous” bill that “threatens to stymie the fight against global warming.” The Center for Biological Diversity called the bill “a disaster,” and Greenpeace called it a “dirty energy bailout bill.”

Wednesday’s release was a discussion draft, meaning there may be changes between now and when (or if) the bill makes it to the floor. Expect plenty of effort from all sides to shape it in the coming weeks.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

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And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

payment methods

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