A new wind blowing through Senate on climate change?

September 14, 2010

For anyone mulling the chances the U.S. Congress will pass a climate change bill next year, it might be worth having a look at Republican candidates who could end up serving in the Senate starting in 2011.

That’s exactly what the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund has done and if you’re an environmentalist, it’s notWEATHER ERNESTO a pretty landscape. 

“Nearly all (Senate Republican candidates) dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution,” the group writes in a posting.  

The center has reviewed statements by Republican candidates vying for the 37 Senate seats up for grabs this year and concludes that “remarkably,” only one of them “supports climate action.” That one is U.S. Representative Michael Castle, who is in a surprisingly tough race for the Republican nomination for Delaware’s open Senate seat.

Backers of legislation to mandate reductions in greenhouse gas pollution from smokestacks, such as carbon dioxide, thought they had an excellent chance this year of passing a global warming bill in the Senate, where Democrats hold a large majority. But a bad U.S. economy and hyper-partisanship appear to have killed prospects for the year.

Republican victories on Nov. 2 could result in a much more conservative Senate next year, with more senators questioning whether human-induced global warming is occuring.

Here’s the center’s look at some recent climate change quotes from Republican candidates:

Joe Miller, who pulled off an upset victory against Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary: “We haven’t heard there’s man-made global warming.” 

Carly Fiorina, running against liberal incumbent Barbara Boxer in California: “I’m not sure,” Fiorina was quoted saying when asked if climate change is “real.”

In Florida, Marco Rubio was quoted in the Tampa Bay Tribune saying, “I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify it (man-made global warming).

Representative Roy Blunt, running for a Missouri Senate seat, was quoted last year telling Human Events, “There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the Earth.”

Ditto Sharron Angle in Nevada, who is giving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a tough race for re-election, was quoted saying:  “I don’t, however, buy into the whole…man-caused global warming, man-caused climate change mantra of the left.”

These sort of statements from potential senators might be one reason why Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, thinks it could be some time before the United States Congress passes comprehensive climate change legislation.  “I think most of the people who work on energy and climate issues would say that the chances of passing a major climate bill in the next couple years are very, very small,” Claussen told a Washington audience on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Marc Serota  (Tropical storm winds in Miami)

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