Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Midterms 2014: Five Good News Stories for the Climate and the Environment

For those who are looking for progress on climate and energy legislation in the US, there is little good news as the GOP appears poised to make advances in the 2014 midterms. If the polls prove to be accurate, Republicans will increase their hold on the House of Representatives and gain control of the Senate. Nonetheless, here are five good news climate stories in this election cycle.

1. Climate change has emerged as a more important issue than in previous elections. According to the New York Times, climate and energy issues now rank in the top three issues mentioned in electoral ads. Climate change has been a common question raised in debates across the US and politicians in some vulnerable parts of the country are taking heat for ignoring the issue.

2. Environmental groups are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach to campaign finance. Rather than just supporting Democrats with a clean voting record, they are investing in some Republican candidates who are favored to win and who may be able to play a role in brokering bipartisan environment, climate and energy legislation.

3. Tom Steyer has emerged as the counter-force to the Koch brothers. He has given $15 million to his NextGen Climate Action Fund and according to Federal Election Commission filings, that brings his publicly disclosed total donations to nearly $56m. Steyer has succeeded in making climate change a top tier issue in the 2014 midterms races in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan and gubernatorial elections in Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine.

4. In some states people will not vote for candidates who deny climate change. According to a poll by the League of Conservation Voters, climate change matters to voters on both sides of the aisle in New Hampshire. Even more importantly, almost half (48 percent) of voters in the state indicated that they are less likely to vote for a candidate who denies climate change.

5. Some of the Republican governors that are about to be elected are climate moderates by GOP standards. One of the best examples is Ohio Governor John Kasich. He has been a moderating force and one of very few Republicans who has stood up to attempts to roll back environmental regulations.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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