We can’t do anything about climate change but we won’t just sit back and let women get birth control
Less than a day after President Obama unveiled his plan to curb carbon emissions using the EPA’s regulatory power, China indicated that it will be curbing its carbon pollution for the first time ever. This historic act of cooperation (and self-preservation) from the world’s two largest carbon polluters defuses what has become the right’s favorite argument against limiting carbon — the U.S. cannot do it alone.
As the old joke goes, America wouldn’t want to embrace green technology, break our reliance on totalitarian governments and reduce air pollution for nothing.
And nothing is exactly what the GOP wants to do about climate change, despite escalating warnings from just about every climate scientist on earth.
Know this: The president’s decision to embrace an environmental agenda through executive action granted by the Clean Air Act and affirmed by the Supreme Court in an election year is the boldest move of his presidency.
Carbon regulations are currently popular even in red states, which is a sign that lots of Republicans aren’t aware that Obama is for them, yet. The right wing will be soon be aware of this fact as the scare tactics polluters have always used to delay government mitigation are repeated in unison across Fox and AM radio.
We know these tactics work because they’re from the playbook that smear the president’s first attempt to fight climate change as part of the Stimulus.
By every possible measure the Recovery Act was a success. But tragically, its massive boost for green technology was reduced to a simple false attack — Solyndra. Democrats now generally refuse to admit the law ever happened, though its investments launched a “remarkable” clean-energy revolution, according to Time Magazine‘s Michael Grunwald. Since 2010, wind capacity four times and solar capacity grew tenfold, as power from the sun suddenly an affordable option for the middle class.
Democratic Senate candidates in West Virginia and Kentucky, coal states where the president is less popular than black lung, have already spoken out against the president’s War on Coal, to no one’s surprise. And surely the president would rather have waited till December to announce these regulations to give his party a better chance of keeping the Senate. But he rolled out his plan now because he had to do it now to give these regulations the best hope of surviving the inevitable legal challenges and lasting beyond his presidency.
Bill Scher argues that the president put policy over politics — but The New Republic’s Alec MacGillis and The New York Times‘ Nate Cohn both make the point that there aren’t really many votes left for Democrats to lose in coal country. And looking ahead to 2016, The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent finds that the issue polls extremely well for Democrats among those who fall into the “Coalition of the Ascendant” who put Obama into the White House twice.
Of all the issues Republicans are wrong on, climate change is the worse. Vox‘s Ezra Klein notes that what the president is proposing is less ambitious than what John McCain ran on in 2008. But something apparently happened in 2008 that made the GOP feel that the nation didn’t need Florida anymore.
To preserve dirty energy, the right will use dirty tactics including purposely offering incorrect, inflated job loss predictions — a classic dirty trick that gets your opponents to repeat your BS attack in order to debunk it.
Democrats should remember the key teaching of George Lakoff, who is literally a brain scientist, “Don’t try to counter a claim or accusation by repeating it and then denying it or labeling it as false.”
Instead, those who care about the earth need to argue broadly for the fundamental responsibility to we all have to each other and our families. Asking polluters to be responsible for the damage they’re doing to the economy is a true free-market solution. And by investing in innovation Americans will save money on their bills and create jobs that can’t be taken away.
Democrats can even steal some of the right’s favorite canards to make the case: What’s more important that the sanctity of traditional climate? And don’t be afraid to say “global warming.” It polls better — especially during summer.
To be honest, the president has been nailing his framing on this issue — but it’s hard to stick with your arguments when the lies start to swarm. By ignoring the right’s false claims and consistently making an undeniable argument for true energy freedom, polluters and their dependents in Congress may recognize that the best business decision is to cut their losses and go green ASAP.
[Image by Andrea Della Adriano | Flickr]