Barack Obama is prepared to stake his own political prestige on getting climate change legislation through Congress, and would be willing to intervene directly to ensure passage of America’s first law to reduce the carbon emissions that cause global warming.
Nancy Sutley, who is pivotal in setting Obama’s green agenda as the chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told the Guardian that the president is ready to use his considerable personal popularity to rally Congress behind a sweeping climate change bill.
“When the bill is further along in the legislative process there are some things where it may make a difference in expressing a strong view,” Sutley said in an interview. “What [Obama] has been saying consistently is that he wants a bill and that this represents a very important step forward.”
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Congress is now working against a six-month deadline to pass a sweeping package of environmental legislation through both houses before the world gathers at Copenhagen in December for talks on a global climate change treaty.
World leaders have warned US officials that Congress needs to take concrete action to reduce emissions if Washington hopes to bring China and other major polluters to a deal at Copenhagen.