A Climate of Change?

Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1293c
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5778.1293c

Although they aren't likely to pass any legislation this year related to climate change, U.S. lawmakers seem to be warming to the issue. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), despite viewing controls as a “hoax” based on the “supposed threat of global warming,” last week convened a closed meeting that included oil and gas business leaders and environmentalists to promote “a better understanding of the technologies that drive emission reductions.” Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee. The same day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called on the government to reengage in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process with an eye toward “minimiz[ing] the cost.”

Supporters of climate change measures also noted three other developments last week. The Government Accountability Office, the watchdog for Congress, reported that federal voluntary carbon-cutting programs touted by the Bush Administration account for less than one-half of U.S. emissions, and that there are few administrative controls to track company participation. A poll found that 70% of a national sample of hunters and sport fishers believe that warming poses a “serious threat” to humans. “There's a shift going on in … the political dialogue,” says David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He and other activists also hope for a boost from An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary on former vice president Al Gore's antiwarming crusade.

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