What do the election results mean for climate policy?
Congressional Quarterly (subs. req’d) reported earlier this week:
If Democrats take Congress, the energy industry can expect an effort to repeal tax breaks, a renewed debate on climate change, and a push for policies that promote alternative fuel sources and crack down on price-gouging, say top Democrats on the House and Senate energy committees.
“Renewed debate” is a scary phrase, since debate won’t solve the dangerous threat posed by unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases. The article quotes top House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrat John D. Dingell of Michigan:
Dingell also said he expected to hold hearings on climate change, an issue with an impact on auto emissions. But any action would likely have to come in the form of international cooperation, he said.
We need more than hearings and debate. Certainly the ultimate solution to the climate problem requires international cooperation. But the other major industrialized countries have already begun taking action under the Kyoto protocol. The U.S. needs to take action NOW because we are the richest and most polluting country–and have no credibility with the rest of the world when it comes to pledging action internationally.
Even if the Bush Administration vetoes any serious climate legislation and continues its policy of inaction, Congressional action will send a strong signal to the rest of the world that we are ready to join the fight once we have a new president in 2009.