The Extended Mix: Post-Election Energy Politics
In "The Mix", Susan McGinnis talks with Tyson Slocum, Policy Director of Public Citizen, Andy Karsner, CEO of Manifest Energy and David Roberts, Senior Staff Writer of Grist about the impact on future climate and energy legislation.
Andy Karsner says that after the defeat of Prop 23, there is still a popular sentiment in California that supports a carbon price and that's important. There is no national policy on cap and trade so if California wants to perform one, the ramifications are yet to be seen. Republicans took the House in a historic sweep. What does it mean for the prospects for energy policy? It means the government needs to recalibrate its command and control philosophy to something more enabling for private sector to galvanize investments.
David Roberts says it appears that Federal climate action on energy of any kind is pretty much dead for the next two years. The big battle may be how much control and regulation the EPA will have in the future. The Republicans are going to go after the EPA. He says, California is the real success story in this election. Prop 23 was defeated by a margin much larger than expected. Jerry Brown was elected back as governor by a larger margin than expected. It shows that Californians are still attached to anything having to do with the environment. Jerry Brown is a huge proponent of clean energy and has a comprehensive energy plan. Across the country, incumbents lost because of fundamental reasons - the economy is bad, this is the first midterm of an incumbent president, jobs, people are mad at Congress and want new blood. The past 2 elections have been wave elections. Incumbents were swept from power. That is the case here. 99% of these losses are because of fundamentals. The one real surprise is 14-term Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher in Virginia. He's been traditionally popular. He was involved in cap and trade, yes, but he did his best to preserve coal's role. So if voters were paying any attention to the cap and trade debate it would have really shown in Boucher's race. It's just a set of circumstances that conspired against all these incumbents.
Tyson Slocum says the big winners in Tuesday’s election are the nuclear, coal and oil industries, who will see a far more advantageous financial and regulatory climate for their shareholders and investors in the next Congress. Losers are support for renewables, and those Americans who understand that the science of climate change requires us to aggressively combat global warming. Incoming Speaker John Boehner will promote more domestic oil & gas drilling (including keeping hydraulic fracturing free from federal government oversight), fight efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, expand federal financing for new nuclear and coal power plants, revive support for a high-level radioactive waste dump, and challenge tax incentives and stimulus-plan funding of renewable energy initiatives. Voters rejected at least two dozen candidates who had voted to address climate change – including Boucher, who led efforts to include a number of giveaways and protections for the coal industry in the House-passed climate bill.
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