Brodner Cartoon du Jour: Pardon My Boehner
Rep. John Boehner is right: The climate bill is a "piece of sh*t" (that family-values crowd sure has a way with words). But not for the reasons that Orange John asserts. But because the thing is so weak as to make it ridiculous. Here's an assessment of the bill by Dennis Kucinich:
The bill allows two billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, roughly equivalent to 30 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters of the bill point out that coal use will increase by 2020, because electric utilities will continue to use dirty coal, the prime source of pollution. With two billion tons of offsets per year, we're told electric utilities will reduce carbon emissions at places other than their generating plants. So they really don't have to actually decrease their emissions, and coal-fired CO2 emissions will increase through 2025. No wonder there are twenty-six active coal plant applications. Increased CO2 emissions will be our gift to the next generation. Apparently, the planet is not melting; with this bill, it's just getting better for polluters.
But even something like this nearly didn't get through the House and now is facing an uphill battle in the Senate. And Republicans are actually doing the chicken dance thinking they have a great anti-Obama issue for the midterms!
Let's get the rogue's gallery straight here. The bill stinks because the deniers have spooked everyone else. Democrats and Obama are at the point of being happy with much less than half a loaf. None of them, of course, would be the problem if this issue were important to us. But it isn't. It's much easier to whip people up over taxes. It would take an intense project of public education to help people connect all these dots. This from Paul Krugman yesterday referring to the House debate:
Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday's debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a "hoax" that has been "perpetrated out of the scientific community." I'd call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.
Yet Mr. Broun's declaration was met with applause.
Given this contempt for hard science, I'm almost reluctant to mention the deniers' dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill's economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.
Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual?
Yes, it is — and that's why it's unforgivable.
As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."