Remember when the big international global warming conference got postponed because of winter storms and freezing temperatures? That was really poor planning. But the fact that the global warming debate heats up about this time every year is very good planning.
I have very little insight to the inner workings of the Washington Beltway, but history tells us that the climate change push will come in the summer, as the heat increased. Sure enough, on Tuesday, President Obama announced his aggressive new environmental push aimed at carbon-based fuels. With poverty and unemployment at record levels, Washington beset by scandal, our foreign policy in disarray, and climate change languishing near the bottom of the average American's priorities, the president nonetheless decides to declare war on coal. I don't know about saving the planet, but one assured outcome is likely higher costs for energy.
But there won't be a lot of room for discussion, as Obama compared the critics of proposed global warming solutions to "the flat earth society." He also made the case that since passage of legislation on this issue would be difficult politically, he would begin to attack the problem through directives and regulatory devices available to him.
It's no secret that the environmental movement has been frustrated by the Obama administration's perceived lack of commitment to climate change and its failure to act as aggressively as they believe he had promised. The long-accepted explanation/strategy has been that once the U.S economy recovered and took off, it would be easier to absorb the economic challenges created by these policies and would promote the political will to act.
I’m not sure what it says about us, or the administration, when there is an acceptance that the economy isn't going to recover in any vigorous way. But with the legislative branch of the federal government unwilling to address these contentious issues, the president and his people have decided to bypass the legislative process and simply do it by agency fiat. Thus, energy, industry and business are preparing themselves for what promises to be an intense battle as the climate debate moves into its annual summer global warming push.
Obama’s Tuesday speech made it loud and clear that anyone who questions the basic premises of this debate are to be shoved to the margins. This strategy isn't new, of course, but its success appears to have emboldened the environmental movement. All the while, the developing world, particularly China, continues on a breakneck pace of expanding their carbon footprint.
Ultimately, the debate comes down to this:
Do we pursue what some believe to be the ethical and moral position, despite the costs associated with it and accepting of the realization that the actions taken will have no discernible effect on the global climate?
- Or do we put economic prosperity over the perceived threats of climate change?
It ought to be an interesting summer.
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