Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter's sudden switch this morning from Republican to Democrat has pundits of all strips analyzing the move from all possible angles in an attempt to foretell the future. Assuming that Al Franken's Minnesota victory is finally ratified, Specter could be that crucial 60th vote for the Dems in the case of a filibuster, so that's one obvious effect (though Specter has already said "I will not be an automatic 60th vote").
Another question making the rounds in eco-circles is: Does this switch spell good news for environmental policy?
Obama has already made several key moves to reverse the previous administration's head-in-sand approach to climate change, and the implication was that there was more to come. Will a supposedly fililbuster-proof Senate majority embolden him to move further toward the green end of the spectrum?
As with all questions involving Specter, the best answer is: Maybe, maybe not. For one thing, as the Wall Street Journal blog pointed out, Specter not only supports "clean" coal wholeheartedly, because it “will play a key role in energy production well into the future,” but he's also a fan of "dirty" coal: “I supported an amendment to H.R. 6 aimed at launching the coal-to-liquids industry in the United States and was disappointed it was not included in the final Senate version."