Republican Scott Brown's upset victory on Tuesday in the Massachusetts special Senate race has dealt a further blow to Democrats' drive to pass a climate control bill in 2010, reports Reuters.
Last June, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a cap-and-trade bill that would require reductions in industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the next four decades. It also would allow pollution permits to be traded in a new regulated market.
But the global warming bill has languished in the Senate, where some members have been trying to find a compromise. Once Brown takes office, Democrats will hold 59 of the 100 votes in the Senate and the Republicans 41. The bill needs 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles that could block passage.
An article this past October in Dairy Herd Management pointed out that the dairy industry -- and agriculture in general -- would not benefit from cap-and-trade legislation.
Here's a look at possible impacts of the Massachusetts election on the climate bill:
* In electing a conservative Republican, Massachusetts picked someone who campaigned against cap-and-trade and argued it would saddle consumers and businesses with higher costs.
* Republicans who oppose requiring industries to reduce carbon pollution will argue the vote was a message to President Barack Obama that one of his top priorities is out of sync with voters.
* The election result could give foreign countries such as China and India -- both huge carbon-emitters like the United States -- further reservations about promising to set their own emission-reduction goals if Washington can provide no clear message that it also will do so.
* Alternatives to cap-and-trade -- and the trillion-dollar market for pollution permits it would create -- could gain more traction.