Serious climate action or a significant increase in federal clean energy funding all but dead for foreseeable future
It looks like the new Speaker of the House will be John Boehner, the man who said, “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”
Ironically very few races were decided by climate and clean energy outside of California, which embraced the strongest possible action to reduce pollution. And poll after poll makes clear the public as a whole supports strong action. And the overwhelming scientific understanding that unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases poses a grave threat to the health and well-being of our children and countless future generations grow stronger every year (see “An illustrated guide to the latest climate science“). But the economy and the President’s dreadful messaging, coupled with a staggering amount of money from Big Oil and the corporate polluters, swept in countless pro-pollution conservatives in the House.
There will be no post-partisan energy policy (see “Brookings embraces American Enterprise Institute’s climate head fake along with right-wing energy myths“). I was at the US Department of Energy the last time the right-wing seized control of the House, under Newt Gingrich.
We had started a process of increasing the budget for clean energy over the past two years, much as Obama and Chu have — and immediately Gingrich and his pro-pollution extremists tried to shut down the department and zero out all applied energy R&D. We fought back as hard as we could, and basically held them to a draw.