Cooling on Global Warming
May 2, 2011
"What the heck went wrong?" That, apparently, is the question roiling the environmental community as it realizes that the fight against climate change has fizzled.
"Instead, the climate push was ... a total flop," laments Plumer.
And, of course, Plumer's right, though not entirely for the reasons he claims.
Climate change is dead as a major political issue for the foreseeable future. Don't believe me? Check out Obama's remarks in his weekly radio address last weekend. It was all about energy policy, and yet not once did he talk about climate change.
In one sense that's odd, given that without global warming, his energy policy goes from merely misguided to outright bonkers. After all, if you wanted to create non-exportable jobs, wean America off foreign oil or pursue energy independence from the
But in another sense it's not odd, because telling voters that they have to pay high gas prices in order to ineffectually fight climate change would be honest but incalculably dumb, politically. Recent polling shows that Americans care about the economy more -- a lot more -- than global warming. Skepticism about the existence of a problem or its scope has been rising in the U.S. and
Why has climate change lost its oomph? Plumer lays out some of the reasons, though he minimizes the damage greens have inflicted on their own credibility thanks to the 2009 Climategate email scandal and wildly overstated predictions. For instance,
No wonder Obama constantly insists that switching to vastly more expensive and less-efficient energy sources will create jobs. No wonder he promises that if we all get on board the high-speed rail bandwagon, we'll win the future. No wonder he's trying to change the subject to as-of-yet-nonexistent gas station price gouging and allegedly outrageous subsidies for the oil industry.
Obama's claims are dubious at best. In supposedly pioneering
One suspects that Obama would dearly love to drill a lot for more oil and gas, simply for the political windfall in jobs and economic growth. But after he flipped on offshore drilling, then flopped after the
Obama and the greens are in an exquisite bind. Without economic recovery, Americans won't support Obama's "investments," but Obama's investments are a hindrance to recovery.
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