For climate policy, the election was a mixed bag. For the climate itself, the observations remain unequivocal
Yesterday’s election results don’t bode well for bold action on climate and energy legislation, but they were still something of a mixed bag.
A good number of House democrats who voted for climate legislation lost their jobs last night, the HuffPo is reporting. Yet at the same time, we didn’t witness the end of environmentalism either — not even close.
Even as proponents of last spring’s climate legislation were voted out of office, so were some outspoken Democratic opponents of the climate bill. According to HuffPo, these included Chris Carney in Pennsylvania and Glenn Nye in Viginia. This makes it difficult to argue that ‘yea’ votes on the legislation played the decisive role in Democrats losing the House.
What did? These immortal words come to mind: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Moreover, the effort to repeal California’s strong climate law went down to a crushing defeat.
Nationally, it’s clear that we will not be seeing any bold climate or energy legislation any time soon. But of course, that’s been clear for while.
Incremental measures and compromise may now be the order of the day. For example, we could see legislation mandating that utilities derive a portion of their power from lower-pollution sources. These could include renewables such as wind and solar but also nuclear power and so-called “clean coal.”
Meanwhile, as voters were casting their ballots yesterday, the National Snow and Ice Data Center was publishing the latest measurements of the extent of Arctic sea ice in October. The verdict: Even though sea ice grew rapidly in October as freezing temperatures increasingly gripped the North, the extent still wound up being the third lowest on record for the month.
Shifting atmospheric circulation contributed, but so did temperatures running 7 to 10 degrees F higher than normal. And over the long term, according to NSIDC, the pace of sea ice decline seems to be increasing: “The linear trend for October steepened slightly from -5.9% per decade to -6.2% per decade.”