Republican candidate Scott Brown has won the race to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and, as I wrote earlier today, this does not bode well for the clean energy and climate change legislation currently being considered in the Senate.
Up until a couple of weeks ago this was seen as an easy win for the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, but as the polls began to tighten, the political punditry began to speculate what a Republican win would mean for President Obama's health care reform package. In a nutshell, and without getting into wonky talk about super-majorities and the like, a Brown win in the Bay State most likely means health-care-for-all is dead in the water.
While the ramifications for the health care package have rightly been the talk of the town and the cable news talking heads, there are other parts of Obama's plan that will also suffer. One of the biggies is the American Clean Energy And Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill or the green jobs/clean energy bill.
ACES proposes, among other things, to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency incentives for homes and buildings, grants for green jobs and a cap-and-trade program that aims to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020.
Up until Brown threw his hat in for the Massachusetts Senate race he has supported climate legislation. Two years ago, in his capacity as a state Senator, Brown voted in favor of a regional-level cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts 10% by 2019, saying:
"Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine."
Flash-forward to this Sunday with Brown now questioning whether climate change is even happening. The Boston Globe quotes Brown as saying that:
"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.''
His campaign website now echoes this stance:
"I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur."
It always blows my mind how quickly "principled"politicians are willing to change their minds when the smell of more power wafts about their heads and Brown's flip-flop means we will most likely not see ACES passed into law anytime soon, if at all in 2010.
Follow Kevin Grandia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kgrandia