‘I SAID NO CAP-AND-TRADE’…. There aren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass an ambitious cap-and-trade proposal, and Republicans won’t let the Senate vote on a more scaled-back version, put together with tri-partisan backing, called the American Power Act. The new compromise offer is a “utilities only” approach that would impose emissions limits on the electric utility sector — and not on the economy at large.

Any chance Republicans might let the Senate vote on this?

A centrist Republican that President Barack Obama is courting on energy legislation on Monday rejected the idea of greenhouse gas limits applied only to electric utilities, just days after a senior White House official floated the concept.

“No. I said no cap-and-trade,” said Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), speaking to reporters in the Capitol.

How would Lugar prefer to reduce carbon emissions? He wouldn’t. What’s his alternative approach? To ignore the problem entirely.

In other words, if the legislation tries to combat global warming at all, Lugar — one of the more approachable Senate Republicans — will not only oppose it, he’ll also fight to prevent the Senate from even voting on it.

Lugar’s inflexibility is similar, by the way, to that of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who said a “utilities only” approach is unacceptable because “it still puts you in the world of cap-and-trade.”

So, if the legislation limits carbon emissions on anyone or anything, anywhere, even a little, Republicans will kill the legislation. Better yet, Democrats can acquiesce and drop cap-and-trade, and Republicans might still kill the legislation, just because.

And because Senate Democrats are “only” in the majority, and the Senate rules are ridiculous, the most pressing global crisis facing humanity in the 21st century will continue to be ignored, almost entirely because Republicans refuse to even consider action.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.