This morning, President Obama focused on his efforts to combat carbon-pollution in his weekly radio address, noting the importance of protecting the health and the climate of future generations:
Of course, emphasizing the need to think about the health of our children and grandchildren won’t diminish the derangement of climate-change deniers, who hate Al Gore more than they love their children and grandchildren. The whining of the wingnuts before the official release of Obama’s carbon-reduction guidelines for existing power plants reached new levels of silliness, as Dan Weiss notes:
While the EPA’s proposal is not yet public, polluting interests have already started to attack it. The National Mining Association is broadcasting radio ads predicting huge rate increases, claims The Washington Post dismissed as “bogus” and “wholly unsupported.” The Chamber of Commerce joined in on the attacks as well: its Institute for 21st Century Energy issued a new report claiming there would be huge economic ramifications and job losses from the EPA’s unreleased rule. The EPA responded, saying “the Chamber’s report is nothing more than irresponsible speculation based on guesses of what our draft proposal will be.”
As the debate begins over the EPA’s power plant pollution-reduction policy, opponents of climate protection will continue to make fatally flawed forecasts. It is critical to a factual and straightforward discussion of the proposed rule that government officials, the media, and the public ignore these phony claims.
Ann Carlson and Denise Robbins have knocked down the nonsense being peddled by the carbon cheerleaders, but the beast of BS won’t die anytime soon. Let’s hope the Obama administration is skillful enough to counteract it.
Obama asserted this morning that “as President, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.” If that’s the case, then he should also refuse to knuckle under to TransCanada, the fossil-fuel lobby, and the Keystone XL pipeline shills in both parties. Despite the increasingly tiresome assertions of the “Keystone is no big deal” crowd, it’s obvious to those who have thought comprehensively about the issue that there is no logical or moral basis for approving the northern leg of the pipeline (or the southern leg, for that matter!). If Obama is also serious about not “condemn[ing] our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” he also might want to reconsider that “all-of-the-above” thing, since it may well leave all of us below.
Obama isn’t the only one facing concerns about climate credibility. Another under-reported aspect of the climate issue is the fact that the “global warming is a hoax” crowd seems to have lost confidence in its ability to successfully sell that particular message. Remember when the hydrocarbon hype men used to boast about the thousands of scientists who allegedly rejected the accuracy of climate science?
Now, it seems that members and supporters of what Senator Edward Markey once called the “Gas and Oil Party” have embraced the “We’re not scientists” meme to avoid questions about what they plan to do to address carbon pollution. As Brad Friedman notes:
The real concern from deniers then (at least those like [House Speaker John] Boehner and the fossil fuel companies, who know there’s no real question about the science — as opposed to their minions that they’ve played for stooges), is only about the economic interests of the fossil fuel industry. It’s not about “the economy,” as you’ll also begin hearing more and more — as Boehner, by way of example, tried to pretend that any proposal to do anything about it “involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs” — because there are plenty of long and short-term economic gains to be had from moving to a world of clean, renewable energy.
The pretend “debate,” in truth, is really only about the handful of folks who profit off of the oil, coal and gas extraction industries, and the personal pain they would like to avoid in cutting into a single cent of the most profitable industry the world has ever known.
It’s not about a “hoax” or “bad science.” It’s not about “lining Al Gore’s pocket.” It’s about a few very very rich men who don’t want to lose any of their future riches.
That’s it. There’s no more to it. It’s action to save humanity versus a loss of profits for a handful of very wealthy people. There’s no real debate about science or the economy or anything else. It’s about the folks who run Big Carbon hoping to remain as absolutely profitable as long as humanly possible, no matter the ultimate cost to our nation, the world, and actual humanity.
Evidently fearing the worst—i.e., that as the ravages of carbon pollution literally hit home, more and more Americans will electorally punish those who pushed the notion that there was nothing to worry about—some on the right are apparently looking for an exit angle, with conservative economist Irwin Stelzer pushing Republicans to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax as an alternative in the pages of the Weekly Standard and Republican pollster Alex Lundry calling for a “middle way” on climate. Lundry “recently completed a poll on energy issues for Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions that found 51 percent of Republicans believe climate change is happening, will happen shortly or will occur in their lifetime. Just 24 percent deny it. The shift is particularly pronounced among younger party members.”
Only 24 percent of Republicans actually think it’s a hoax? After all the years and dollars spent by the rhetorical and political hitmen for La Kocha Nostra to convince people that Gore was making it up, that’s the best they could do? No wonder they’re nervous.
In 2008, the denialist mantra was “Drill, Baby, Drill.” In 2011, the denialist mantra was “Deny ‘Til We Die.” In 2014, if America continues to stand with Obama on reducing carbon pollution, and urges him—and our political system overall—to do more, the denialist mantra will be “Help! Please, help!”
Feed the Political AnimalDonate
Washington Monthly depends on donations from readers like you.