Does meaningful climate change legislation stand a chance? Maybe. But, as I wrote yesterday, it's going to take more pressure on Congress. Here's how one senior staffer, via e-mail, describes the situation on Capitol Hill:
There is not a giant push beyond the major enviro groups and John Kerry, and none may come for the rest of this year. The larger apparatus that would need to be mobilized for such an effort is either hungover from health care, still finishing the job on fin-reg, or both.
The Gulf disaster is causing lots of members to rush to appear responsive, but most see climate change as off topic in terms of an action item.
Climate change is in large part a victim of the sour economy. Republicans can too easily message it as a job killer. With 10 percent unemployment, health care wouldn't pass now either.
Plus, whereas health care at least had buy-in from almost every Democrat, climate change starts off at more disadvantaged position, because it is an issue that cuts geographically more than anything.
I don't think this means the situation is hopeless. I heard plenty of dire predictions about health care reform, right up until the day it passed. As Brad and others have written, some of the possible compromises would represent worthwhile, if far from adequate, progress. But even those compromises won't pass without a bigger push.