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There has been some confusion about exactly what I meant in my climate change post on Tuesday. Since I’m in no shape to write anything lengthy, this is a perfect opportunity to boil it down to a sentence or two. Here it is:

If you’re serious about climate change—really serious—then your plan cannot demand very much sacrifice from people. Maybe none, in fact.

That’s it. You will never get widespread support for any plan that requires people to give up the stuff they like. I know that it’s much harder to think of a plan with negligible sacrifice that nevertheless makes a serious dent in climate change—the laundry list of all the usual suspects is much easier—but that’s too bad. The laundry list will never get public support, so if that’s your answer you aren’t really taking the problem seriously.

Keep in mind that the “problem” we’re trying to address is not climate change and never has been. The problem is how to get public support to do something about climate change. That’s what you need to pour all your energy into. And just to give you something to throw brickbats at, here’s my four-step plan:

  • Lots and lots of subsidies for renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification, etc.
  • Huge sums of money for R&D into renewable energy and carbon sequestration.
  • A strong focus on job creation.
  • A whopping big carbon tax that mostly hits the affluent, with plenty of deficit spending to make up the rest

This is, obviously, not feasible right now. But nothing is feasible for the next couple of years. What we need right now is some serious thinking about what to do if and when liberals gain the political power to do anything, and that thinking needs to unapologetically focus on how to demand the smallest possible sacrifice from the largest number of people.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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