mark begichMark Begich

Sen. Mark Begich beat out everyone’s favorite Senate curmudgeon, “Uncle” Ted Stevens (R), in a tight race last fall. And while he’s seen as a modest improvement in the environmental realm, he’s also a steadfast supporter of increased oil and gas drilling, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Begich has advocated for a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. “Alaska is ground zero for the effects of climate change,” Begich told Grist last summer, noting that climate policy should include adaptation strategies for places like his home state that are already feeling its effects. During his run for the Senate, he called for a renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025 and efficiency improvements to reduce energy consumption 25 percent by 2018.

But this year he was among the Democrats who voted against passing climate policy through the budget reconciliation process.

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As a senator from a conservative state that draws much of its income from the oil and gas industry, Begich is not a sure vote for a climate bill.

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