Thursday, October 31, 2013

October's Lesson for Climate Activists: Skate to Where the Puck is Going

Fake 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee Wayne GretzkyHere's what we've learned about Congressional Republicans in October:
It's not just that today's Republican Party rejects all available solutions to all available problems because they don't want President Obama to get any credit for solving any problems. They're willing to create entirely new crises solely in hopes of making President Obama look bad.

Congressional Republicans won't support any legislation that gives President Obama any credit for solving the climate crisis. In fact, if the climate crisis did not exist, the House GOP would be gleefully passing bills trying to create one.

The only hope is that either Democrats can re-take the House or that Congressional Republicans get more interested in problem-solving - as Wayne Gretzky once said, skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. Climate activists should be planning and power building now for that moment when it comes, hopefully in 2014 or 2016.

Yet I keep hearing arguments like this:
Carbon taxes will also encourage more private investment in renewables because investors are hesitant to invest while congressional action is uncertain. This should appeal to conservatives who dislike government investing in high-tech ventures that might fail. Private investors invest more successfully.

Also, conservatives hate EPA regulations that are expensive to implement and inefficiently only target one industry at a time. Carbon taxes fairly affect the whole economy's emissions simultaneously.

Conservatives also object to reducing U.S. emissions without international emissions reductions. Carbon taxes with border adjustments will impel nations exporting products to the U.S. to pay US carbon taxes or enact their own, thus impacting foreign emissions.
This is skating to where the puck was in 1992. As David Roberts detailed at Grist, since then sane Republicans have been driven from the party. There is no policy nuance that will satiate people willing to blow up DC to end the reign of the Socialist/Fascist Dictator/Weak-Kneed Muslim/Religion-Hating Obama.

Advocate for the policy we need and hope Congress catches up - skate to where the puck is going.
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