UPDATE :Obama NOT to speak to Senators on climate change legislation on Wednesday

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The absurdity of Washington politics raised its ugly head in a piece in Politico on Monday, in which Senator Kerry was torn apart by several unnamed Democrats (though to his credit West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller cracked on the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate on the record).  A piece in Tuesday's Daily Beast has Kerry's back however.  The thrust of the Politico story is that Kerry has been "aggressive" in trying to rally Senators to support his legislation, as if that's a bad thing.

Kerry said on Tuesday that the bill must include ways to price carbon but he wasn't "locked into any single way of doing it."

"The fact is if we don't price carbon, we will create one tenth of the jobs and reduce only one tenth of the missions.  It would essentially be an energy-only bill," Kerry said.  Many environmentalists say that there has to be a tax put on carbon emissions if the U.S. is serious about doing something about moving away from fossil fuels.

President Obama meets early Wednesday morning with Democratic and Republican Senators at the White House to discuss the potential legislation.  A bill on energy that included a capping and trading carbon emissions passed in the House a year ago, but the Senate hasn't come close to passing their own version of a bill.

Liberal commentators in the print and electronic media went nuts last week when they didn't exactly hear what they wanted to from Barack Obama in his Oval Office address regarding energy legislation that the Senate will soon take up.

As we've written about in this space recently, there are competing Senate bills out there.  The one that had the most focus over the past year, a tri-partisan bill on climate change sponsored by John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham (before he dropped his involvement because of a completely separate matter regarding immigration)  appears to be getting jammed by Democrats, who are wary of anything that smells like a cap and trade bill that they fear could alienate businesses and some Republicans.

We're reading about other proposals, including a bi-partisan one from Washington's Maria Cantwell and Maine's Susan Collins. In an op-ed in last Friday's Washington Post, they wrote about what they're calling the CLEAR Act.  The two Senators wrote:

Our concept is simple: Instead of cap-and-trade, our approach is "cap-and-dividend," with the dividends going where they belong: into the pockets of hardworking Americans.

The legislation would set up a mechanism for selling "carbon shares" to the few thousand fossil fuel producers and importers through monthly auctions. Seventy-five percent of the auction revenue would be returned to every citizen and legal resident of the United States through equally divided rebate checks — averaging $1,100 for a family of four each year. The remaining 25 percent would finance clean-energy research and development; help reduce emissions in agriculture, forestry and manufacturing; and provide transition assistance for workers and communities in carbon-intensive regions. The legislation aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

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