As most readers probably know by now, late on Friday, negotiators in the House of Representatives reached a deal to move forward with the energy bill's long-awaited increase in CAFE standards. Longtime climate observer David Sassoon, now running the website SolveClimate.org, has probably the best take on this development encapsulated in a single headline: "Pelosi Heroic, But Sea Change Still Needed."
Futher, detailed analysis from the NY Times' Matthew Wald basically confirms David's synopsis. The bill is a itself sea change moving forward (particularly compared with the pace and content of other recent energy legislation) and it avoided the most troubling moves advocated by the auto industry. But it is still very much a mere starting point, on the federal level, toward slowing the pace of greenhouse gas emissions and setting us on a more sustainable path.
House leaders deserve a world of credit for moving forward after decades of neglect, and for rejecting key industry demands wholesale while winning the support of key lawkmakers and auto executives. This is truly, as David notes, a "signature achievement" to crow about to a large extent.
But like the youth climate activists that invigorated us at Power Shift, we want more. Yet we're now even more optimistic that so do congressional leaders, not to mention the cutting-edge state and local actors that industry spinmeisters are claiming should be satisfied by Friday's deal.