HeadCount Sustainability and Climate Change Update: Signs of Life for Climate Legislation

Some of you have been getting HeadCount's Sustainability and Climate Change e-newsletter for a while. But for many of you who joined our mailing list when downloading the "Best of Bonnaroo" compilation, this will be the first time. So let me briefly introduce myself: I'm Nicole and every six weeks I'll hit you with a brief update about what's going on with climate change and the global environmental movement. I'll also try to keep you in-the-know on all the efforts to get a climate bill passed in the U.S.

  • More than 40,000 people have downloaded "Best of Bonnaroo" and over three quarters chose to take action on climate change. That means over 30,000 emails were sent to the Senate and the President, ranking as one of the most effective grassroots action efforts around climate change in the last year. The album features free music from Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, Phish, My Morning Jacket and Jack Johnson (who just recorded his new album, out June 1, with 100% solar energy.) If you haven't sent the email or grabbed the FREE download, just visit www.musicforaction.org.
  • If you caught Bill Maher on "Real Time" recently, then you saw a heated and comical debate about the veracity of climate change, the wisdom of "cap and trade," and whether it's a human health issue. View the video here.
  • China has surpassed the United States as the biggest investor in renewable energy for the first time in at least five years. This prompted U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu to say we need a comprehensive energy and climate bill, in order to best China.
  • On March 24, President Obama's top aides met with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and top Senate Democrats to map out a plan for how to get the 60 votes needed to pass the climate and energy bill currently being drafted by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). In order to construct a bill that will be able to garner enough votes in The Senate to become law, Kerry, Lieberman and Graham have been holding back-to-back meetings with fellow Senators and environmental groups, as well as traditional Republican interest groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute. They hope to pick up moderate Republicans' votes when the time comes for the Senate to vote on this bill.
  • Environmental and industry reps who have attended these closed-door meetings confirm that the senators' proposal still maintains the core goals of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last June, which promised a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020, and a reduction of more than 80% by 2050. Once drafted, the bill will need to go through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget Office for a five to six week-long analysis of the bill's price tag and environmental benefits. SenateDemocratic sources say if the bill isn't ready for a floor vote by Memorial Day it likely won't be voted on at all this year.

If you want to help make a difference on this, it's easy to get involved in your local community: This summer, hook up with the Youth Climate Leaders, organized by the Energy Action Coalition and theirDefine Our Decade Campaign350.org is also organizing a Community Day of Action on 10/10/10. As always, you can also get the latest Sustainability and Climate Change headlines daily by  following us on Twitter or visit our Sustainability page.