Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts will put the chill on climate legislation

Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts will put the chill on climate legislation
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Republican candidate Scott Brown has won the race to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and, as I wrote earlier today, this does not bode well for the clean energy and climate change legislation currently being considered in the Senate.

Up until a couple of weeks ago this was seen as an easy win for the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, but as the polls began to tighten, the political punditry began to speculate what a Republican win would mean for President Obama’s health care reform package. In a nutshell, and without getting into wonky talk about super-majorities and the like, a Brown win in the Bay State most likely means health-care-for-all is dead in the water.

While the ramifications for the health care package have rightly been the talk of the town and the cable news talking heads, there are other parts of Obama’s plan that will also suffer. One of the biggies is the American Clean Energy And Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill or the green jobs/clean energy bill.

ACES proposes, among other things, to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency incentives for homes and buildings, grants for green jobs and a cap-and-trade program that aims to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020.

Up until Brown threw his hat in for the Massachusetts Senate race he has supported climate legislation. Two years ago, in his capacity as a state Senator, Brown voted in favor of a regional-level cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts 10% by 2019, saying:

“Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine.”

Flash-forward to this Sunday with Brown now questioning whether climate change is even happening. The Boston Globe quotes Brown as saying that:

“It’s interesting. I think the globe is always heating and cooling,” he said. “It’s a natural way of ebb and flow. The thing that concerns me lately is some of the information I’ve heard about potential tampering with some of the information.”

His campaign website now echoes this stance:

“I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur.”

It always blows my mind how quickly “principled”politicians are willing to change their minds when the smell of more power wafts about their heads and Brown’s flip-flop means we will most likely not see ACES passed into law anytime soon, if at all in 2010.

Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts will put the chill on climate legislation

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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