With the Democrats surprisingly winning not only the House of Representatives but the Senate as well in this week’s mid-term election the chairmanship of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee will shift from Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who may be best known for standing on the Senate floor a few years ago and announcing that global warming was a great hoax, to Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, one the most pro-environmental members of the Senate. Confirmation that this change in chairmanship will mean a sweeping change in Committee policy on global warming came in a conference call with reporters yesterday. According to a report by the Associated Press, Boxer said that with regard to global warming, “Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this, the states are beginning to take steps, and we need to take steps was well.” Clearly this is quite a shift from Inhofe who spent his time on the issue blocking legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Boxer said that for formulating policy she would use the recent California law for capping greenhouse gas emissions as a model.
Since Boxer will be Chairwoman of the Senate environment committee and not the President of the United States it still seems unlikely that there will be any major shift in U.S. policy on global warming until 2009 at the earliest when George W. Bush will finally, at long last, leave office. Hopefully, in 2009 there will still be time to act in order to avoid reaching what NASA climate scientist James Hansen calls the "tipping point."