Yesterday the US House voted to replace motor-industry champion John Dingell with his environmental opposite, Henry Waxman, as chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. Its a pretty big shift: Unlike Dingell, Waxman is a proponent of stringent emissions targets and he may be able to prevent the US cap and trade programme from being the legless sham that it was set to be. Which means the US may fall into line with the international community in time for the Copenhagen climate negotiations next year.
But influential as Waxman is, he still needs to convince those carbon-headed Midwest lawmakers that emissions cuts in the short term won’t harm their industries in the longer term. I see a day not far off, where carbon-belching companies and their insurers will have to pay bankrupting levels of compensation to the victims of climate change disasters such as extreme weather events. That should be financial incentive enough to convince them, surely?