Apparently Mike Barone believes the tautology that we use a lot of coal now, so we always will. He believes that politicians are gutless when it comes to environmental damage. We shall see.
Obama Cap-and-Trade Will Meet Coal-Fired Energy Political Opposition
Posted: March 25, 2009
By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Bill Galston at the New Republic‘s blog provides some clear thinking on the prospects for the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade legislation. His conclusion: ain’t gonna happen. Galston notes that national polls show that on the question of balancing economic against environmental considerations, voters have switched and are now more concerned about the economy—as in holding down utility costs—and less concerned about the environment.
And, as Galston points out, a cap-and-trade system would substantially increase the price of electricity produced by coal. Nationally, we get 49 percent of our energy by coal (these are 2006 figures, from the 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States), but reliance on coal varies widely by state. The following table may help you to understand the political implications. It shows the percentage of electricity produced by coal in each state above the national average and the number of Democratic senators and representatives from each of those states.
|% of electricity produced by coal in each state above the national average||senators||representatives|
Do the math. That leaves only 32 Democratic senators from less-than-average coal-reliant states and only 157 Democratic House members from less-than-average coal-reliant states. Now I’m not saying that every member from such states will vote against cap-and-trade, but I think an awful lot would. And I don’t think many Republicans are going to vote for cap-and-trade. In his press conference last night, Barack Obama seemed to accept the Senate Budget Committee’s Democrats’ decision to jettison the money for cap-and-trade and expressed a wistful hope that something might be done later. But even in better economic times, the numbers tend to work against any such proposal.