Scott Brown/Climate Bill Fallout Roundup

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

Newly elected Senator Scott Brown (R–MA) says that he wants more alternative energy but explicitly opposes a cap and trade bill. That of course complicates President Barack Obama's efforts to pass a climate bill this spring, says Climatewire:

Brown's win takes a guaranteed "yes" vote off the board for advocates of setting up a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions. It also could serve as a warning shot for moderate senators nervous about voting for a sweeping new government program headed into their own tough re-election campaigns.

At his victory rally in Boston, Brown warned that his election puts Democrats on notice that they may pay a political price come November if they do not take a second look as they work through the major pieces of President Obama's legislative agenda.

But last year Brown supported reductions on greenhouse gases.

Per The Boston Globe:

In 2008, he voted with the Legislature for Massachusetts to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a pact among Northeastern states requiring power plants to reduce emissions or to buy credits from cleaner industries.

"Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine,'' Brown said in a news release at the time. "Passing this legislation is an important step ... towards improving our environment.''

Now, however, Kevin Grandia says Brown is challenging some of the basic science of climate change, and citing the ClimateHack story. From The Boston Globe:

The issue is clearly on the mind of some voters. Just last week, Brown visited the home of a voter in Harvard, Jack Farren, who asked him, “Do you think that whole global warming thing is a big fraud?’’

Brown’s answer was illustrative, in that he did not reject the fraud theory.

“It’s interesting. I think the globe is always heating and cooling,’’ he said. “It’s a natural way of ebb and flow. The thing that concerns me lately is some of the information I’ve heard about potential tampering with some of the information.’’

Brown continued, saying: “I just want to make sure if in fact . . . the earth is heating up, that we have accurate information, and it’s unbiased by scientists with no agenda. Once that’s done, then I think we can really move forward with a good plan.’’

The Natural Resources Defense Council, meanwhile, is claiming optimism on the question of whether Brown's win spells doom for climate legislation this year.

The signs of momentum for a clean energy and climate bill outweigh any signs that come from the Massachusetts special election.

Take, for example, that this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reiterated that he wants to pass the bill this spring, and that the bill has the tri-partisan support of Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman.

In a little more than 6 weeks, 1221 businesses have called for strong action on climate via American Businesses for Clean Energy.

But Grandia, who supports strong carbon emissions reductions, said before the election:

While uncertainty remains about what a Republican win in Massachusetts means for health care reform, there seems little doubt that it would be bad for the clean energy package making it's way through Congress.

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