Getting To Yes, Maybe

According to EENews, the Obama administration is trying a last  ditch effort to get a hybrid energy/climate bill passed:

President Obama is striving for consensus on a path forward that can deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions and satisfy concerns in the Senate about energy security. In an address to the nation's top CEOs at a Business Roundtable meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Obama is expected to discuss his energy plans. According to several sources, one of the proposals under discussion is to find ways to incentivize coal-burning power plants to switch to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Economywide cap and trade or carbon tax? Maybe not.  More nuclear, probably and more "clean coal" investment, almost assuredly.  So why pass this watered down, milquetoast version of a climate and energy bill?  

There are times in lawyer's lives when they must adopt a different hat--after all the risk identifying and negotiating and hand wringing is over, there must be a signature on the dotted line.  A lawyer must advise their client that the deal is as good as its going to get, that the settlement is worth the risk.  Because no one can predict the future, there is no absolute guarantee that the deal that is struck in advance of events is as good as what could happen if events are allowed to unfold and decisions are made based on actual events.  But dealmaking has value--it allows parties to have security and allows disparate parties to come to terms that are acceptable to all, if ideal for none. 

But I wonder if this is that deal.  Let's say Obama inks this settlement, shepherded on the Republican side by Senator Lindsey Graham.  The question must be--Will the environment really benefit, not Did We Get Something Passed.  Doing something is not always better than sticking to your guns and fighting on.  The best lawyers--and politicians--know when the deal is as good as it's going to get.  I don't think we're there yet.

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Timothy R. Hughes - February 22, 2010 5:16 PM

Count me as one that would have voted for going for a carbon tax first rather than cap and trade and in front of health care. I think he health care debacle has cost cap and trade.

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