Election fallout – animals & the environment

Obviously the big news from this week’s election is the G.O.P.’s takeover of the House and seats it gained in the Senate, neither of which bodes well for meaningful action on climate change or other environmental issues. (As was pointed out in various places, all the G.O.P. Senate candidates disputed the global warming consensus and opposed action.)

Still, there were a couple of bright spots. Grist reported on a “green wave” that swept California: not only did voters decisively reject a ballot measure that would’ve overturned the state’s tough climate-change law, but they also elected a slate of green Democrats to statewide and national office (including former-and-soon-to-be-again governor Jerry Brown). The Grist article attributes this in part to a successful business-environmentalist coalition that doesn’t see clean energy and climate action as inherently opposed to economic performance.

Also at Grist, Tom Philpott discusses the election’s implications for agriculture policy reform. In short, despite a possible change for the better on the Senate side, the overall picture looks like a preservation of the status quo. It remains to be seen if any of the alleged Republican zeal for reducing spending will translate into cuts in subsidies for industrial agriculture. Congress also seems poised to continue its mollycoddling of big industrial-ag polluters.

On the animal front, there are a couple of pieces of good news: Proposition B, a measure to crack down on puppy mills, passed in Missouri. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Proposition 109–a measure designed to take wildlife protection out of the ballot initiative process and give it exclusively to the state legislature–was defeated.

Also, while not directly election related, it’s worth noting that the 2010 meeting of the international Convention on Biological Diversity, taking place in Nagoya, Japan, recently concluded with an agreement on targets for preserving biodiversity. There are questions, however, about how binding the agreement is and whether there’s enough funding to give it teeth. It’s also worth noting that the U.S. has not ratified the convention.

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