Reporting back from Senator Boxer’s first hearing as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which included in-person or written statements (all of which will be made publicly available by the Committee) from approximately a third of the Senate on the topic of global warming:

A few themes recurred consistently over the course of yesterday’s testimony, including resounding support among the Senators for the precedent of collaboration and industry leadership set by the United States Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of major businesses and environmental groups announced last week.

Bright spots of the day included an unprecedented level of discussion around environmental and social justice issues, including an emerging consensus around the idea that any new national energy policy must take facility siting, job creation, and energy costs to low-income consumers into account. More literal bright spots—from many camera flashes—occurred when Presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama made his statement, which was barely audible over the clicking of camera shutters. Interestingly, Senator Obama made no mention of his recent “Coal-to-Liquid Promotion Act,” but a number of other Senators did highlight the potential of “clean” coal as a partial solution to climate change (a few also mentioned nuclear power). While oil and state may be separating, it’s abundantly clear we’ll have a lot of work to do with the 110th Congress to make sure false/non-renewable alternatives don’t take its place.

The laugh line of the day belonged to Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the very few climate skeptics to speak, who said: “Proponents of man-made global warming are being motivated by money” (referencing the Weather Channel). Inhofe, it should be noted, accepted nearly $55,000 in campaign contributions from the Oil and Gas industry in the last election cycle alone…