This is going to be a long post, folks. It's interesting to speculate what the election means, but I wanted some actual facts, so I did some research and I'm going to share it with you all.
I heard Senator Obama speaking yesterday. He said that if the Democrats take the Senate (still in doubt as of this posting), he will be able to push ahead with enacting two bills he has cosponsored in the Senate, which until now have been obstructed by Republicans. One was on health care and the other was to promote research in alternative fuels and more efficient energy technology.
I looked up his bills, and found the one that addresses climate change is S.1151. You can read all about it here:
, if you like.
The bill is about all greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, not specifically hybrids, but there would be a big impact on them and flex-fuel vehicles under Section 491 - funding for technology research. It sets aside money to "award funding through the program to stimulate innovation in development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies that have the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
There are currently a few other bills that have been proposed and ignored in the Republican Congress that would deal with climate change issues, and I would certainly include hybrids in that category. A brief list along with official descriptions:
1. S.342 "A bill to provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances, to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances." This includes some of the same provisions as Sen. Obama's bill re: carbon trading.
2. S.1203 "A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the investment in greenhouse gas intensity reduction projects, and for other purposes." This mostly involves tax credits for nuclear power and an extension of tax credits for renewable energy production.
3. H.R.759 "To provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances that will limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances, and for other purposes." See the text here: http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:H.R.759:
[This is the one that I think is most likely to be on the table again soon- it had 121 bipartisan sponsors but never so much as got out of committee in the House because of Speaker Hastert's oligarcic policy that a majority of the Republican caucus had to favor a bill before it could so much as get a hearing in the House, regardless of across the aisle support.]
There have also been extensive amendments to the last energy bill proposed by McCain (S.A. 826 to HR 6 http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:S.A.826:
) and Kerry (S.A. 844 to HR 6 http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:S.A.844:
) which were voted down by the last Senate but which might be resurrected in full or in part now that power has shifted. Too complicated to summarize, but among other things, McCain's included incentives for certain diesel vehicles and fuel research and Kerry's had incentives for bio-based fuels, renewable liquid fuel production and increased the FE standards. Another amendment did pass the Senate but didn't make it past the House, (http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:S.A.866:
); it covered both of those things and went further, enumerating targets of barrels of oil saved per day that must be acheived by a given year, by whatever legal requirements they can come up with. It's fascinating stuff.
One of these bills or another one with a lot of the same stuff in it will get through the House- as for the Senate, we're still waiting to see. Sorry Tom, I disagree- this election does make a difference- a big one.