On Thursday, some of the America's most respected environmental groups in the midst of their biggest political fight in two decades sent a group of activists to Milwaukee with a message — We're losing. They have come to bitter realisation: When we fight the oil and gas industry, they win.
A year ago, these groups seemed to be at the peak of their influence, needing only the Senate's approval for a landmark climate-change bill. But they lost that fight.
Now the groups are wondering how they can keep this loss from becoming a rout as their opponents press their advantage and try to undo the Obama administration's climate efforts. At two events last week in Wisconsin, environmental groups seemed to be trying two strategies: defiance and pleading for sympathy.
Neither one drew enough people to fill a high school gym. "Our side did absolutely everything you're supposed to do but got nowhere," said author Bill McKibben. Washington's climate battle is still far from over. The Environmental Protection Agency is setting limits on some sources of greenhouse gases. Now, industry groups and senators from coal-producing states are trying to prevent that.
Even in the hottest year on record, even with a historic Gulf oil spill, even with a Democratic Congress and a friendly White House, they couldn't win the fight it had picked. In fact, in the Senate it couldn't even start.
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