The prospects of the eight Republicans who crossed the aisle for landmark climate legislation passed last summer in the House are looking very good for re-election, according to the NRDC.
These were the House Republicans who voted to support Waxman-Markey’s ACES, a climate bill that has been years in the making, to cap pollution levels from fossil fuels, and then ratchet them down each year, to prevent catastrophic climate destabilization.
Despite the vote, Mary Bono-Mack (CA-45), Mike Castle (DE-AL), John McHugh (NY-23), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), Leonard Lance (NJ-7), Mark Kirk (IL-10), Dave Reichert (WA-8), and Christopher Smith (NJ-4) were all easily able to hold onto their seats in the House.
Not a single one of these was successfully primaried out of office by the fossil-funded Tea Party to their right, despite the fact that cap-and-trade helps build clean energy by hurting dirty energy.
Cap and trade like that passed in the House is now attempting to negotiate through the Senate filibuster.
Competitors within an industry, driven by a new “price on carbon”, would race each-other to get out from under fossil power, to avoid being the last one still paying that price on carbon.
They would be fined if they didn’t lower their carbon pollution. Once it is more expensive to pollute, any rational business would switch.
Indeed, in countries and states where there is that price on carbon, in cap and trade, companies reduced their greenhouse emissions, below 1990 levels (Europe under ETS, and four RGGI states). Many new industries have sprung up to supply ways to reduce fossil energy, and to supply expertize on which ways to choose, and then to quantify cost/benefit analysis.
The way the trade part works is that it makes it so that if a polluting company can find a way to reduce its carbon pollution (invest in combined heat & power, add solar roofs, skylights, or walls, use off-peak power to heat or to cool, have the fleet converted to EVs or run on natural gas, put in thermal energy storage: whatever they choose) then it can get money from its own competitors in that industry (who are slower off the mark to switch), to finance the clean energy or efficiency switch.
The alternative would be that taxpayers would have to fund the switch to clean energy.
We can only look at the House for these examples of brave Republicans. The filibuster has been strictly enforced by Mitch McConnell in the Senate. (Actually, the House does not offer such opportunities for mischief. In the House, the choice is up or down votes on actual bills only. Only in the Senate can the minority prevent an up or down vote by voting against a vote (cloture) that allows the up or down vote to occur).
But Senators should take heart. The fossil industry won’t kill you if instead of voting to retain our dependence on the dirty industry, you think of your own grandchildren when you take this month’s climate vote. I’m sure you have your own kids covered by insurance. The climate bill you will have the opportunity to vote on this year is climate insurance.
It secures property values for, not just countless generations to come in thousands of future centuries, but for the very next generation.
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.