This week's seizure of both houses of Congress by the Democrats means that two key Republican opponents of action to confront climate change - Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Richard Pombo of California - will lose their positions as the chairmen of Congress's two environmental committees.
Mr Pombo, who lost his bid for re-election, will leave the House altogether. Mr Inhofe, who once said the threat of global warming was, "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people", will probably be replaced by the California Democrat Barbara Boxer. She has promised to curb carbon emissions and strengthen environmental protection legislation.
"I think this represents a huge shift in the political dynamic of environmental politics," said Karen Wayland, legislative director of the National Resources Defence Council, a environmental group in Washington.
It is a personal embarassment to me to be living in the same state as Inhofe. I am SO happy to see him lose his position on the environmental committee. I hope Barbara Boxer hangs tough.