Is it the road map to a brave new world? The end of Western civilization as we know it? Both? Neither?
HR 2454, the so-called "Waxman-Markey bill," is the subject of a lot of rhetoric that's generating more heat than light. Major firms in fossil-fuel-dependent industries are spending mega-bucks to convince Congress that the current economic situation (which many of these same firms helped create) is just too risky for any such major course change. Green groups (and yours truly) find it better than no bill at all, but can be optimistic only by considering it as the first step down a long road which the previous administration wasn't willing to consider at all.
Now Grist , a leading online magazine with a significant emphasis on sustainability issues, has come out with the best summary  I've seen of just what the 900+ page legislation contains. It's still kind of long, but both easier to digest than the legislative language and more informative than the rantings of cave-dwellers like me.
If you live in the USA, you owe it to yourself to learn more. If you work on a campus, the implications of Waxman-Markey (or whatever related bill finally gets enacted) will factor into your climate action plan, energy conservation plan, campus master plan and (in the not too distant future) annual budget.