Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reality and the economics of climate change

Economic recessions can be considered good and bad for the environment. When people are poorer they drive less, they consume less and they attempt to be more energy efficient.

On the other hand, the last thing the newly unemployed want to hear if preaching from green groups to recycle more and care more about whales, seals or starving children in far off places especially if helping any of the above means they suffer additional hardship (however small).

Al Gore and the democrats are facing this reality.

The following quote gets to the heart of the issue:

Voters' pocketbooks are now involved, making them more skeptical about climate change -- and about the utility of any policies aimed at influencing climate change.


Democrats and Energy: Reality Bites [WSJ]

Former Vice President Al Gore recently took his climate-change show on the road for the benefit of liberal bloggers, Sunday morning TV aficionados and other innocent bystanders. This week he laid out his demand for a miraculous transformation in U.S. energy use over a mere 10 years. As for drilling for more oil? "Absurd," the Nobel Laureate scoffed. "When you're in a hole, stop digging."

The same might be said for Mr. Gore. For while his message hasn't changed, the political realities of the energy debate have. Suddenly, Mr. Gore's inconvenient speechifying only tightens the vice Democrats find themselves in over drilling.

Voters' pocketbooks are now involved, making them more skeptical about climate change -- and about the utility of any policies aimed at influencing climate change. The environmental movement is facing a critical moment. Democrats who support the greenies in their most ambitious goals, and scariest pseudo-scientific rhetoric, suddenly seem woefully out of touch with American voters.

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As recently as April, the environmental agenda was a progressive's happy-clappy laundry list: A windfall profits tax, plans to sue OPEC, and even some price-gouging investigations of the oil-industrial complex. June saw Senate Democrats' embarassing failure to move a cap-and-trade bill. Now they aren't doing much besides fighting for a crackdown on oil speculators. No doubt they will claim that this week's share climbdown in oil prices is the result. But, by their nature, market speculators frequently shift their bets and estimates. That's what's happening now, as almost everybody agrees that whatever the long-term challenges, oil supply is adequate to meet demand at prices equivalent of $4 gallon for gas in the U.S.

1 comment:

Sven said...

Good Job! :)