Friday, March 11, 2011

Q Day 5: Future of Climate Legislation?

An anonymous questioner asks whether and when there may be action on climate issues.

I don't know that I have a lot of real insights on this one. What I can say is that assuming that ACA stays mostly in place, and assuming nothing really new emerges, that climate is certainly the biggest issue on the Democratic agenda. That means that there's a strong possibility that the next time Dems have a chance, they'll enact something.

Of course, health care was clearly the biggest issue on the Democratic agenda for 30+ years before ACA passed...passing major legislation is really hard.

On the other hand (and keep in mind I'm no expert in the substance of climate change), my understand is that significant things can be done through the regulatory process. I think the odds of major regulatory action over the next two years are low, but if there's an Obama second term, then the odds are pretty good. And of course it is certainly possible that there will be unified Democratic government in 2013-2014.

(On that last point; the only really unlikely combo in 2013, it seems to me, would be a Republican president and Senate and a Democratic House. The other combinations: unified either way, GOP president and Senate and Dem House, Dem president and Senate with GOP House, Dem president and GOP Congress -- did I miss any?  -- are unlikely. Oh, yeah; GOP president, Dem Congress; that's not going to happen).


  1. Obama has called for raising taxes on oil and gas industries so more R&D can be put into green technology. That would be the most effective policy.

    Also, even if Obama does win a second term (which I think he will), don't most presidents start to focus more on international issues because they don't have the major political clout to get major legislation passed?

  2. The offer is: If Republicans go along with some sort of carbon pricing, the EPA can drop its regs. There haven't been takers yet. But then some Repubs are accepting there will probably have to be some tax increase for a long term budget deal--so why not a carbon tax? Throw in EPA regs, and it starts looking like a good deal for all.

  3. Something very screwy is going on in your last (parenthetical) paragraph. But I'd be curious to know what you actually meant!


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