The United States has not adopted into federal law an advanced energy policy that targets energy production and consumption with respect to climate impact. Despite a lot of talk and a handful of bills proposed in Congress since President Obama's inauguration a year and a half ago, no comprehensive legislation has been able to pass both the House and Senate. A handful of bills have been proposed. None of the efforts to date was able to garner significant political momentum or public support. Healthcare and finance reform have stolen the show, and the headlines.
But all this changed when tragedies at a coal mine in West Virginia and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in dozens of human casualties and cast America's attention on fossil fuels. How Congress will respond depends on many variables, and nobody knows for certain whether any climate (or even energy) legislation will become law by January 2011. But trends indicate that if no comprehensive package emerges from Capitol Hill, states and regions will continue to strengthen their own environmental standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may assert its authority to control pollution widely viewed as an anthropogenic cause of climate change.