The Political Climate

Nate Cohn downplays the political danger that climate policy poses for Democrats:

[T]he electoral consequences of Obama’s climate policy will probably be overstated. That’s not because climate policy doesn’t have big electoral consequences, but mainly because Democrats have already incurred the huge, if localized costs of pursuing regulations on carbon emissions. The 2009-2010 era fights over Cap and Trade and EPA regulations on new power plants solidified Democrats as the party of the so-called “war on coal,” which resulted in cataclysmic Democratic losses in traditionally Democratic stretches of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and western Virginia. Maybe memories of the “war on coal” would have faded without the president’s newest climate push, allowing Democrats to recover in 2014. That’s possible, but unlikely. After all, Republicans were already favored to takeover West Virginia’s open Senate seat.

Barro, meanwhile, worries that Republicans will respond to Obama’s climate policies with “maximum political and legal resistance:

[I]t’s not likely to be an effective strategy for shaping policy. Obama is acting under legal authority he already has and a Supreme Court decision that forces the EPA to regulate carbon. Republicans should instead do something they’re not used to: Work with Obama to come up with a better alternative to his plan. Obama has only taken a heavy-handed regulatory approach because that’s what he can do without congressional action; if Republicans would agree to a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, he’d gladly take that over the plan he laid out [yesterday].