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Boxer: Like it or not, carbon regulation is coming

March 19, 2009 |  1:37 pm

(Cross-posted at The Swamp)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) offered a stark message today to her colleagues who want to delay or kill major reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions: You've already lost.

Boxer chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and she's drafting the Senate version of a so-called "cap-and-trade" bill that would limit the emissions scientists blame for climate change.

In what she dubbed a "reality check on global warming," Boxer said a growing series of regional emissions caps -- and the high likelihood that the Obama administration will soon take the first steps toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act -- suggest that Congress' only choices on emissions limits are to set them itself, or to watch others do it.

“I am here today to say that the days of inaction on climate change have ended," Boxer said. “The question is, will Congress continue to play a small part or a central role?”

The comments rebuked Boxer's Republican counterpart on the committee, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a global warming skeptic who lambasted the cap-and-trade proposal on the Senate floor this week, calling it all costs and no benefits for American taxpayers.

"If it is time for anything," he said, "it is time for us to get realistic about these policies, and focus on what is achievable, both globally and domestically, to help bring down energy costs to consumers and make us more energy-secure so the American public doesn’t get yet another raw deal."

-- Jim Tankersley