Wednesday, October 20, 2010

US Upcoming elections and Climate Change.Elections

The following article appeared a few days ago in NatureNews. It should prove helpful in helping you understand the positions taken by the major two political parties in the US on the major issue of our time; Climate Change.

US midterm elections: A chilly season for climate crusaders

Open scepticism of global warming could rule next Congress.

Jeff Tollefson

Nineteen of the 21 serious Republican challengers for seats in the US Senate believe that climate science is either "inconclusive" or "incorrect", according to an analysis by Washington DC's non-partisan National Journal. A more comprehensive list compiled by the left-leaning Wonk Room website suggests that 31 out of 37 Republican Senate candidates — including nine out of ten sitting senators — have recently disputed the science. Five of the remaining six actively oppose existing climate bills.

It is not clear exactly how concerns about climate-change regulations will affect the US midterm elections next month. Battles about political ideology and the state of the US economy are more pressing. But one thing is certain: scepticism about climate science has become one of the many litmus tests for candidates backed by the surging right. Even Senator John McCain of Arizona, who once championed climate legislation, has said that the world needs to know whether the scientific community's conclusions about global warming "were flawed by outside influences". In trendsetting California, where the science of climate change is not at issue between the leading gubernatorial candidates, concern over the economy could still lead to a deferral of greenhouse-gas emission cuts (see 'State watch: California').
Click here for more on the midterm elections.

If Republicans take the House or Senate, US climate scientists could be targeted for investigations that challenge findings related to global warming. In the House, Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has promised to give climate science "a careful relook". In the Senate, long-time climate sceptic James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) would relish the opportunity to subpoena climate scientists for hearings before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, which he is likely to chair if Republicans take control.

Democratic leaders pushed many members to vote for a comprehensive climate bill in the House in 2009, only to see the issue fizzle out in the Senate. Republican candidates are now using that vote to campaign against Democrats such as Zack Space, who has been accused by his Republican opponent in Ohio, state senator Bob Gibbs, of voting for a "cap-and-trade energy tax that will kill over 100,000 Ohio jobs".

The use of climate science as a weapon to skewer political opponents does not bode well for bipartisan progress on climate after the election. "If the message is that climate legislation is political poison, then that will make it harder to bring it up in the future," says David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington DC.

Prospects for the kind of emissions-trading programme that allows polluters to buy and sell permits on a fluid carbon market have already faded, says Frank Maisano, an energy specialist with the lobby firm Bracewell & Giuliani in Washington DC. Maisano notes that most of the sitting lawmakers who are likely to lose in November — moderate Democrats and Republicans — did not support aggressive action on climate science in any case. "This is regional politics, not partisan politics."

A more divided Congress could take up smaller initiatives targeting energy efficiency, renewable energy and long-term investments in clean-energy. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to act on a 2007 court ruling giving it authority to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. Some observers suggest that the fear of direct EPA regulation could help to spur a legislative solution among moderates of both parties.

That kind of political compromise might yet be possible if the climate rhetoric tones down after the elections. "Climate-science denial is a by-product of extreme partisanship and a kind of reactionary mode among conservatives, and I expect that this will wane," says Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist think tank based in Washington DC. He says that most Republicans in the current Congress accept the science even if they disagree over what to do about it. "But if large parts of the Republican Party begin to deny consensus science," he adds, "then the climate community will have to confront them about it."


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Jeffrey Wolpert said...

So many voters do not even consider the environmental standpoint of politicians. This makes it more common for these politicians to ignore the environment, and even doubt the science behind the degradation. How despicable. As we have learned, it is imperative that our country's shifts its paradigm from profit to sustainability/environmentalism.

Jordan Jones-Brewster said...

I doubt that environmental management will even cross the mind of many voters when it comes to this upcoming election. The candidates did bring the issue up a few times but it isn't their main priority. If it were then it probably would cause a shift in the senate toward the republicans. hen the democrats attempted to give more power to environmental legislation and management issues it wasn't very popular for the masses because they expected fast results and little impact on them but that just wasn't the case and never will be.

Sarah Dumont!! said...

Personally, I've never heard of climate science and I seriously doubt that this will lead to a great divide in elections. The issue of "global warming" has been "on the forefront" of politicians' minds for what seems like forever, and still it seems that we're at a standstill when it comes to important environmental challenges. Sure, it would be nice if the environment was considered first this time around, but it doesn't seem likely considering history, which has a tendency to repeat itself.

Khari Linton said...

This is interesting because I had an internship this summer at a company called the New York League of Conservation Voters that basically funded and supported politicians based on their environmental record. While some politicians hold the environment in high regard, many of them disregard it which is a shame. Especially in this day and age where the economy is down and jobs are needed more than ever the environmental issues are not relatively important to many politicians and voters. But it is weird how every other country in the world believes in climate change and we cannot seem to get on board, I wonder why Republicans think it's false.

Derek Venezia said...

I feel that the majority of voters take little or no consideration for their candidates stance on the environment. In comparison to other issues such as the failing economy, taxes and health care, environmental degradation receives little attention. I also believe that no progress will be made as far as "climate change" regulations are concerned, as long as Republican politicians continue to blatantly disregard the severity of our environmental degradation.

Ryan said...

I wonder if these stands against climate change are truly what these politicians believe. We've seen some ignorant and unprepared people running for high office before (Sarah Palin), but some of these guys are very intelligent. I really believe this is just part of the political circus that runs the country, where it's more important for your side to win than to make progress or compromise. Republicans have had a large part of the religious vote for quite some time, and with that you have to consider the Bible's stand on any issue. I don't doubt that these "climate change deniers" are also against abortion and gay marriage. A part of the voting population is just waiting for someone to tell them exactly what to think and why it's right, many never fact check or consider their news source biased. With a deficit like we have, many probably see steps to help the environment as wastes of money or tax cuts. Some of these politicians use God and their beliefs to form most of their opinions (Separation of Church and state? Where's that?) When you work for the Lord, who cares about the people?

Cody Clement-Sanders said...

I will admit that research can be influenced and flawed, however, my question regarding that influence is who profits from it. In The Atlantic Monthly,, they discuss how medical research is flawed based on getting grants and money, not a real solution. While some studies suggest that there is an environmental problem, others will say there isn't and some of that is for public attention and personal gains. We know that carbon emissions negatively impact the environment, so why would we be against regulating and reducing the carbon output? I question the motives of the people that are against it, and especially the people that USED to be for it (yes you John McCain), and wonder what political and monetary gains they get out of it. Regulate and reduce carbon-emissions, and quit arguing about the whether or not the scientific evidence is 100% conclusive.

Sarah Dumont ! said...

Personally, I am so tired of hearing Republican this, Democratic that. Even just today there was a post on Facebook reading: "Republicans fall in line, Democrats fall in love."
True, it's just a saying and doesn't mean anything at all...yet it does. There would be no such saying in the first place if the divide and issues weren't there to begin with. It's not a question of whether Democrats or Republicans will handle climate change and in which way, it's what human will take the initiative to stand up for the environment, for our nation of people, for themselves. Not to follow, but to lead.

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