The chances are better than even that at some point this year, Obama will sign an energy bill that at least takes baby steps toward making carbon polluters pay to pollute. This is based on years (OK, decades) of Washington watching. Even if Republicans sweep control of both chambers and are poised to take over in January, end-of-year energy action may not be dead. That’s because out in America, people want to see changes. Republican strategist Frank Luntz has released research that shows broad bipartisan support for holding polluters accountable and for ending the U.S. addiction to foreign oil. Many polls show majorities across party lines think the government should regulate emissions to reduce global warming. It all comes down to politics: Whether cap-and-trade – a market-driven idea once supported by prominent Republicans – can be transformed into something smaller, simpler and more appealing to fence-sitters once the heat of the election season has cooled.
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