SCENARIOS-Republican election impact on climate change

Mon Nov 1, 2010 8:43pm GMT
 

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON Nov 1 (Reuters) - Republicans are poised to make big gains in Tuesday's congressional elections, putting them in position to reverse Democrats' drive for comprehensive climate change legislation.

President Barack Obama's Democrats, who largely support legislation requiring the first mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas pollution, currently hold majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

A Republican takeover of either chamber, or even large gains by the party known for opposing climate change legislation, will make it harder, or impossible, for Obama to win legislation imposing mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

That's especially true if next year's Senate is populated by more skeptics of human-caused global warming. Democrats in coal-producing states like West Virginia are struggling to win on Nov. 2, partly due to Obama's climate change proposals.

Even with tough opposition though, Obama still has the power to shape climate change policy. And Republican bills that stray too far from Obama's energy and environment goals will surely be vetoed.

Here are some possible moves to look out for if Republicans do well in the elections.

EPA REGULATION

Senator John Rockefeller, a Democrat representing West Virginia, is pushing for a vote during the "lame duck" session of Congress planned for mid-November that would suspend Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases, including those emitted from burning coal, for two years. Rockefeller says a two-year pause is needed to give the coal industry time to perfect clean technologies.   Continued...

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