The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act bill, establishing an emissions trading scheme for the US, has been passed by the US House of Representatives. The vote was close, and depended on the last vestiges of bipartisanship, with the 219-212 majority depending on 8 Republicans willing to save the planet (44 Democrats voted against, a few because they thought the bill was too weak). Since good actions by Republicans are so rare nowadays, I’ll salute all eight, as listed here Bono Mack (Calif), Castle (Del.), LoBiondo (NJ), McHugh (NY), Reichert (Wash.), Smith (NJ), Lance (NJ), Kirk (Ill.). My guess is that the narrowness of the majority is a little misleading. In cases like this, the Administration cuts enough deals to get a majority, but usually has a few votes in reserve.
I have no idea how things will go in the Senate, but I’m feeling optimistic that the bill will pass in the end. The Lieberman-Warner bill got 48 votes in 2008 (including 7 Reps) and the Senate is a lot better now than it was then.
Of course, this good news has the implication that Australia could be left at the back of the pack, among the last developed countries to sign on to emissions trading. That’s the price of having a delusional and disfunctional opposition, and of the Labor backroom deals that managed to give Steven Fielding the balance of power in the Senate.