Podcast: Congressional Climate Change?

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The shifting political winds in Washington may have a far-reaching impact on a wide range of issues: health care, tax cuts, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But what about climate change?

Very little was said about global warming during the campaign season, other than the barrage of negative ads by Republicans accusing their Democratic opponents of supporting “cap and tax” legislation. Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul even went so far as to criticize President Obama for giving “credibility and credence” to dictators like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe by supporting global action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

And then there is this statistic: Of all the Republicans newly elected to the U.S. Senate last week, only one has openly accepted the science behind anthropogenic climate change (Senator-elect Mark Kirk, of Illinois). As much as half of the new Republican majority in the House has either outright denied the existence of climate change or questioned whether the warming of the planet is caused by humans.

To say the least, congressional action on comprehensive climate change legislation in the next two years seems unlikely. But the results of the midterm elections could have much more damaging consequences for environmental legislation, including efforts by Democrats to increase oversight and regulation of the off-shore drilling industry after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.

To sort through all of this, Need to Know’s Alison Stewart spoke with Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard. Sheppard covered the elections on Tuesday from Colorado, where she followed the closely watched battle between Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and his Republican challenger, Ken Buck.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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