The dreams of climate-concerned Americans who had hoped voters would hand Democrats control of the Senate—along with the power to act on a climate agenda—were all but dashed in the election, despite bitterly fought campaigns from Maine to Arizona.
Democrats went into the election targeting half a dozen or more Republican incumbents, needing only to pick up three seats.
Former astronaut Mark Kelly in Arizona and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado took big early leads on election night, when it looked like that script might play out. But then key Republican incumbents held off their Democratic challengers—Sens. Joni Ernst in Iowa, Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Susan Collins in Maine, and most likely Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Dan Sullivan in Alaska.
Experts have said that in a Republican-controlled Senate, there still could be some less ambitious climate legislation. But Republicans have not so far put forward any comprehensive climate plans.
"None of the Republican programs we have seen would get you anywhere near the emissions reductions required, given the science around climate change," said David Konisky, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.