All politics is local right? Well, that’s not good news for anyone who wants a real energy policy.

The 2010 midterm elections show that on the congressional district level, it’s hard to sell energy policy. Democrats have consistently failed to convince people that an energy proposal like cap-and-trade — or some watered down version of it — won’t increase energy bills or cost people their jobs. They certainly haven’t explained what happens to the coal miner, the rig operator, the roughneck in the oil fields or the service industry workers who are supported by these jobs if cap-and-trade goes into effect.

Look at this analysis by Politico of districts in which a candidate in the House of Representatives had voted for cap-and-trade. It was a total disaster.

Congressmen don’t gravitate toward losing issues. So don’t look for anything that looks like a cap-and-trade policy to come from the lower chamber. For that matter, don’t expect anyone running for Congress in two years to touch the issue either. So the question is, what issues will be broached?

There have been hopes that a piecemeal approach to energy will be what happens going forward. Perhaps an incentive program for renewables, and general targets for reducing emissions could be pieces of that puzzle. Or perhaps the approach to energy will be the default position — simply doing nothing. D.C. is a traditional town after all.

Whatever the future holds is uncertain, but certainly the 2010 election showed that cap-and-trade probably won't be part of it. 

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