Cantwell is a leader in the global climate conversation, as evidenced by her ability to pump biodiesel.
Washington's junior senator's sights haven't been focused on the home front so much these days. With the real Secretary of State Hillary Clinton busy dealing with the Afghanistan situation, Maria Cantwell has been filling the void in other areas of foreign policy.
Last Friday, Cantwell and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the CLEAR Act, a bill that would create a cap and dividend system wherein the the federal government would auction off emission rights to energy companies. The government would then use the proceeds of the auctions to provide us with rebates since overall energy prices would likely rise. So our pocketbooks and Mother Earth would win.
Currently the bill is only 50 pages, making it more an idea than a plan. But it's already getting criticism from " target="_blank">environmental groups, who argue that the CLEAR Act's emission cap goals aren't stringent enough.
Still, the timing is good for the CLEAR Act, what with all the fighting over regulation happening in on the international stage. "The President has taken our shared emission-reduction goals to the Copenhagen conference and the response there underscores global interest tackling the problem," Cantwell said last Friday when she dropped the bill.
Of course, Cantwell's bill doesn't really have much of anything to do with international climate agreements. One of the biggest sticking points in Copenhagen is over whether or not China should still be considered a developing economy. Under Kyoto, rich nations could build green energy infrastructure in developing nations and earn carbon credits for themselves. But the United States isn't anxious to do the same for China, what with that country's economy already nipping at our heels.
But even if Cantwell's proposed bill doesn't make much difference in Denmark, it seems like every time an issue of international significance hits the headlines, it's not long before Cantwell gets involved. A woman with higher ambitions perhaps?