Is the G.O.P. the worst thing for the Global Environment?

The League of Conservation Voters developed their yearly scorecard for members of Congress and the Senate.  It is available here.

The picture is startling. As said by the League in the introduction:

In 2011, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives unleashed a truly breathtaking and unprecedented assault on the environment and public health, the breadth and depth of which have made the current House of Representatives the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history.

The story is not one where strong new provisions, requirements and laws for the environment were being passed and the House G.O.P. provided a block to them; instead, the situation was one where they took advantage of their control of one branch of government to pass multiple meaningless environmental rollbacks and use environmental issues as bargaining chips in its protracted war against the Executive.  Worse yet, the only “environmental” vote most of the GOP took in 2011 was to pay for Gulf Restoration after the BP disaster.

So, to summarize: GOP is willing to be environmental when it is disaster recovery, but not willing to learn from these mistakes and pass reasonable regulations to prevent the disasters from happening in the first place.

The argument here is that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and their focus on rolling back any environmental progress over the past decades presents a new veto point in the system of global environmental governance.  Veto points, those actors who can prevent policy decisions, which block progress are different than veto points that try and roll back prior gains.  Those veto points that try and roll back prior gains can prevent negotiations, prevent incremental progress, can disrupt budget increases, etc.

A resistant GOP would not be detrimental to the global environment in quite the same way as a roll-back GOP would be.  This is the real problem highlighted by the 2011 GOP-led House of Representatives and their agenda on the environment.


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