Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moving forward on Climate Legislation after the Mid-Terms

So today is election day. Overall the day is over in terms of the election results. Sure we still have races that are being counted but we know that the House of Representatives will be controlled by the Republican Party. We know that the Senate will "technically" be controlled by the Democrats. We know that the Republicans will control the majority of the governorships and finally the best news of the night is California voted to stop Texas Oil and keep alive AB32, California's landmark climate bill.

Moving forward we have some tough choices ahead of us. Tuesdays will be a day for me to write about Climate Change and Peak Oil. I did not plan to start this series on election day but it worked out that way.

Unfortunately this means that my first post on Climate Change will be in a negative atmosphere nationwide and really we have a very tough future ahead of us.

The American people voted tonight on economic concerns. In the long run I fear this may cause major problems not just for our country but also for the world.

The House of Representatives:

Republican John Boehner will be the new Speaker of the House. This is a man who once said that "the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical."

The only thing that would be comical (if we did not need strong action on climate change now) is the lack of any scientific understanding from John Boehner or the rest of the Republican Caucus.

What we have to look forward to from the House is essentially an energy policy written by and for the Oil Industry.

The Senate:

I stated up above that the Democrats are "technically" in control of the Senate. This is because they will be unable to get anything done with the House in the hands of the Republicans and the filibuster making it so they need an un-democratic 60 votes to even have a vote on a bill.

Essentially nothing of the scale we need on climate change will be passed from the Senate due to the filibuster.

Moving on:

So where does that leave us for the next two years? We will be unable to pass any climate legislation on the national level. I hate to say it but we were unable to pass anything even before tonight and now we are in an even worse place on the national level.

So what does that leave us? California seems to give the answer to this question. This is a state that is doing worse economically then the country as a whole and yet overwhelming voted to keep their landmark climate bill on the books. They also voted to keep Senator Boxer in office. Boxer has been a champion of climate legislation in the pass. Finally, Jerry Brown looks like he will be elected to the governorship in California largely based on his argument for a clean technology economy.

This shows that we can win on climate change even in a weak economy... at the state level. Moving forward we need to start fighting for strong climate legislation on a state by state basis and on a city by city basis.

We waited through the Bush years with the idea that once the democrats were in office we would establish a national price on carbon. We put all our eggs in one basket. Well the economic collapse came along and dumped them all out.

By working on the state level and the city level we can get wins and move the conversation forward. In addition any one loss won't be the end of the game. Our next chance at the national level won't be till 2013 or later. The science states that we can't wait. We need action now and that action must come from the state and city level.

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