The New York Times is reporting (here) that Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid has given up on efforts to enact climate legislation this year. This is very bad news with for a couple of reasons.
First, given the likely outcome of the coming November elections, the Obama Administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress has lost its best chance to enact climate legislation. It seems unlikely that another opportunity will arise before the next presidential election in 2012 (and maybe not then, depending on that election's outcome).
Second, by failing to enact even a weak climate bill, the US has signaled the international community that it is not yet taking climate change seriously. That signal will (a) further erode the already slim American influence at international climate negotiations, and (b) reduce to nearly zero chances that a new international climate accord will be in place before the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.
Chalk up a big victory for Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, and energy-industry lobbyists. The only remaining hope is that EPA will act on its promise of promulgating climate regulations under the Clean Air Act. It remains to be seen, however, whether those regulations (if they are the same as or similar to what EPA has already proposed) will survive judicial review. I have my doubts.