That changing public opinion about climate change could affect current efforts to pass a bipartisan climate bill being sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Ind.), of Connecticut, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina.
Ahead of the vote, Texas, Virginia, and Alabama officials have filed challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that man-made greenhouse gases threaten public health. And Republican senators have cited controversial hacked e-mails from climate scientists and mistakes in reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as reasons to oppose a climate bill that would limit carbon dioxide emissions.
“In the US, it’s going to be more difficult [to pass climate legislation] than it might have been a year ago,” says Adil Najam, a lead author of two IPCC reports and the director of Boston University’s Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. “The same legislation is going to find more opposition, because the political mood has changed.”