Sparks Fly on Climate Change as Californians Oppose Prop 23

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The energy and environment legislation that Democrats were hoping to champion after health care will not see the light of day if Republicans take control of the House, and even Democrats are skeptical whether they can come together on this issue.

West Virginia Senate candidate Gov. Joe Manchin has assailed President Obama's energy plan and vowed to oppose any cap and trade legislation if he's elected.

The House passed a comprehensive energy bill last year, but the Senate couldn't come to an agreement despite intense lobbying efforts by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who led the fight for the bill in the Senate.

Talks on a comprehensive energy bill remain stalled even as public concern on the issue remains high. A national poll conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities from May 14, 2009 to June 1, 2010, found that 61 percent of Americans believe global warming is real and 50 percent believe it is caused mostly by humans.

Democrats are hopeful that if it's defeated, Proposition 23 could send a signal to lawmakers and the rest of the country that Americans are serious about reducing greenhouse gases and defeating Big Oil.

But some experts say that California's legislation isn't unlikely to be mimicked in other states in the near future.

"I do think it is kind of an island because I think a lot of other state legislators would hesitate to adopt the kind of climate change legislation we have and only because of the potential of net job loss," said Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College.

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