I know many scientists who aren’t politically active because they feel that many political issues don’t apply to them. I strongly disagree. If the upcoming midterm elections proceed as pundits claim, it may have disastrous consequences for American science policy. We all have a stake in this.
Political junkies like myself know that Republicans are expected to regain the House of Representatives following elections this November. The Democrats’ odds of keeping the Senate improved with the primary victory of corrupt Christine O’Donnell last week, but there is still a chance that the Republicans will retake the Senate. This isn’t surprising- the opposition party often gains seats in a midterm election. How will this takeover effect environmental policy in this country? It’s impossible to say for sure, but Politico has some predictions.
I don’t much care for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but she has done an admirable job of making the Capitol a greener place. From the Politico article:
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s imprint is everywhere: energy-efficient light bulbs, healthful, organic foods in cafeterias, aggressive recycling and, of course, a complete ban on smoking”
If Republicans win control of the House by gaining at least 39 seats, John Boehner (R-OH) would be Speaker. Boehner considers Pelosi’s reforms to be a waste of money, and he laughed when the House cafeteria starting carrying foods that he hadn’t heard of before. Charming.
We can also look to conservative opinion leaders to see how Republicans would govern. The influential blog “Red State” has started a campaign to “Save the Light Bulb“. For those of you who are confused, they are talking about saving the incandescent bulb from crazy environmentalists who are promoting more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. This movement is far from widespread (the Facebook fan page has 8 fans, despite a stated goal of one million), but it has resulted in some press coverage.
In the end, I’m not sure how much of a difference a Republican controlled house will make, since the Democrats couldn’t pass a meaningful climate change bill when they ran things. On the other hand… save the light bulb? Seriously? How are the Democrats losing to people who are against energy efficiency?