Brown's declaration is significant if not entirely unexpected. A number of Democrats from coal, oil, and manufacturing states have been either resistant or outright opposed to significant action on climate change in recent years. But Democrats are more aware of that fact than ever. And as critical as some liberals and environmentalists were of a number of pre-vote concessions, the Waxman-Markey bill, which recently passed in the House, was designed in collaboration with just those sorts of Democrats--and crucially, Democrats from states whose senators have been on the fence on the issue in the past.
They've noticed the difference. "I thought that Waxman was unbelievably adept," Brown said.
But that doesn't mean the process will be easy. Some key questions remain to be answered, such as: What language will the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee use as a legislative starting point? How closely will that chamber's process mimic the Waxman-Markey process? And will Democrats--even those who oppose the final bill--agree to oppose a GOP filibuster?
On that last question, Brown is saying yes.