Sheldon Whitehouse: '2015 would be a very good year' for climate change legislation

Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Climate Change,Sheldon Whitehouse

With the French foreign minister warning that the earth is 500 days away from "climate chaos," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said "2015 would be a very good year" for Congress to take up climate legislation.

"I think before there can be a legislative push there has to be a public push and that's what we're working on now," Whitehouse told the Washington Examiner before explaining the three things that have to happen to get a vote on climate legislation.

"[O]ne's already done, and that's the president's regulation of existing power from carbon plants, that's a big step," Whitehouse said. "The second is, I think a lot of candidates are going to be surprised by the climate issue in the upcoming elections, and I think that's going to force a reassessment of the wisdom of just chaining themselves to the polluters. And the third is that I think that more and more we're seeing the American corporate sector that is not polluters starting to step up a little bit more and be a little bit more responsible about pushing their voices into this conversation. I think you pile those three things together and you have a situation in which the denier castle, which is built on sand, falls down and at that point we can legislate I think very sensibly."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius offered his warning on Tuesday before a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos," Fabius told reporters. "And I know that President Obama and John Kerry himself are committed on this subject and I'm sure that with them, with a lot of other friends, we shall be able to reach success on this very important matter."

Kerry tried to get a cap-and-trade bill through the Senate in 2010, but it failed to receive a vote as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to stave off a Republican wave election by sparing his colleagues from taking an unpopular vote.

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