In addition to its ideological elements, the climate change issue has a substantial regional/geographic component. Which is to say that there’s significant state-to-state variation in per capita CO2 emissions, meaning that certain states would be net losers under carbon pricing policy unless special provision were made for them. And, indeed, it’s no secret that Democrats from high-emissions midwestern states are somewhat hesitant to act and eager to try to cut deals that might protect local industries. What’s been less noted is the reverse phenomenon, the large number of Republican Senators from states with per capita emissions below the 20.6 metric tons per person that represents the national average.
Without some kind of active enthusiasm for comprehensive climate legislation from members of this block, it’s very difficult to imagine this problem being tackled. And at the moment, the enthusiasm is entirely absent. But at some point the Republicans from these states are going to have to ask themselves while they’re lining up with dirty energy interests against science and good sense when those interests aren’t even key factors for their citizens.