America's oil, gas and coal industry has increased its lobbying budget by 50%, with key players spending $44.5m in the first three months of this year in an intense effort to cut off support for Barack Obama's plan to build a clean energy economy.
A defeat for the bill would have global consequences. The international community is depending on America, as the world's biggest per capita polluter, to set out a firm plan for getting off dirty fuels in the months before crucial UN negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
Without such action, the chances of getting a deal that scientists say is vital to limiting dangerous climate change are much reduced.
In a capitalist democracy, big business will find huge sums of money to influence public opinion when its interests are threatened. In this case, the carbon lobby wants us to carry on polluting. If they do succeed in stopping efforts to tackle global warming, we may have to ask whether this form of democracy is such a good idea.