Republicans (sic) for Environmental Protection take on Conservatives for Polluter Appeasement

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"Republicans (sic) for Environmental Protection take on Conservatives for Polluter Appeasement"

Republicans [sic] For Environmental Protection: ‘Conservatives, Of All People, Should Not Ignore Basic Principles Of Economics’ ” is the guest post today, from Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson.  I know what you’re thinking — there are Republicans For Environmental Protection?  But of course there are — at the state level.  Indeed, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a genuine leader in climate action.  But this is a national organization and given the number of national Republicans who honestly support climate action — as opposed to the number who, say, work 24/7 to dishonestly appease polluters (see “”MIT Professor tells GOP to stop ‘misrepresenting’ his work and “House GOP pledge to fight all action on climate “and “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies” — at the very least REP should consider dropping the ‘s’ from their name.

Republicans for Environmental Protection

Why are so many Republicans in Congress lying about green economy legislation? Republicans for Environmental Protection have no idea. In a sharply worded press release, this organization of conservation-minded conservatives criticize the Hill Republicans’ $3100 light-switch-tax lie, which is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis of carbon pricing. They describe the GOP pattern of lying about energy as “a disservice to American citizens” and “a dangerous unwillingness to learn the right lessons from the election debacles of 2006 and 2008″³:

Conservatives, of all people, should not ignore basic principles of economics. Such tactics, which are designed to score political points and gain headlines, are a disservice to American citizens, who urgently need Congress to debate the climate issue constructively. Voters are counting on their elected representatives to work together across party lines to develop balanced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower America’s dangerous dependence on oil, and help us move more quickly to a more diversified, robust energy economy.

The recent Republican tactics to fight climate legislation show a dangerous unwillingness to learn the right lessons from the election debacles of 2006 and 2008. A refusal to face facts, acknowledge risks, and make responsible policy choices for the greater good is not conservative. It is reckless endangerment of our country and it must stop.

REP’s statement explains that spreading lies about green economic policy is dangerous for our nation and even the political future of their own party. They offer one possible explanation why so many leading Republicans, from House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) to Budget Committee ranking minority member Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), keep on lying:

Few except special interests and politicians who do their bidding would argue that limiting emissions that put human health and the environment at risk puts a burdensome “tax” on American families and businesses.

Text of the full release:

‘Energy Tax’ Rhetoric Ill Serves Debate on Climate Legislation

Republican members of Congress have taken to calling cap-and-trade legislation an “energy tax” or a “light switch tax” on American families and businesses.

Most recently, congressional Republicans misrepresented a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study analyzing cap-and-trade proposals. They distorted the study’s conclusions to exaggerate the costs of cap-and-trade legislation on individual households, by making faulty calculations based on erroneous assumptions and by ignoring a basic principle of economics – the time value of money.

Conservatives, of all people, should not ignore basic principles of economics.

Such tactics, which are designed to score political points and gain headlines, are a disservice to American citizens, who urgently need Congress to debate the climate issue constructively. Voters are counting on their elected representatives to work together across party lines to develop balanced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower America’s dangerous dependence on oil, and help us move more quickly to a more diversified, robust energy economy.

The scientific evidence for a human role in climate change is compelling enough to warrant prudent measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many religious leaders and business executives agree. An ethic of traditional conservatism is to exercise proper stewardship over the environment that supports our economy and to reduce risks of environmental harm.

A cap-and-trade bill, or competing alternatives such as cap-and-dividend or carbon tax measures, would take the fundamental step of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, thus sending a signal that CO2 emissions carry a cost and free disposal in the atmosphere is no longer appropriate.

Environmental legislation works to reduce harmful emissions by putting a price on those emissions, either directly or more commonly, by limiting their disposal into the environment. The Clean Air Act put a price on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other harmful air pollutants. The Clean Water Act put a price on sewage, hazardous chemical wastes, and other types of water pollution.

Few except special interests and politicians who do their bidding would argue that limiting emissions that put human health and the environment at risk puts a burdensome “tax” on American families and businesses.

And even if lawmakers are sincerely doubtful about the human role in climate change, there are sound reasons for reducing fossil fuel dependence anyway. Our heavy dependence on oil is a strategic liability. It’s only a matter of time before oil prices spike upward again. A large share of remaining global oil reserves is located in politically unstable parts of the world. Sticking to an energy path of high oil dependence will leave the U.S. chronically vulnerable to overseas political turmoil over which our country has little control.

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14 Responses to Republicans (sic) for Environmental Protection take on Conservatives for Polluter Appeasement

  1. Gail says:

    Republicans (including my beleaguered significant other) who are genuinely “conservative” and claim to be pro-environment, need to acknowledge that the leaders of their party have sold whatever remnants of integrity remained (following Ronnie Reagan, who took the solar panels off the White House roof all the way to GWB and his phony war) to the fundie base in Appalachia. Between them, the lobbies, and a few rich old white men they have marginalized themselves into oblivion. The demographics are stubborn, and the party of Rush Loofah has no future in a democratic USA.

    Brad Johnson and others of his persuasion should start a new party.

  2. paulm says:

    Amazing, that article did not mention the sealevel rise!

  3. hapa says:

    “of all people”? charming.

  4. danl says:

    I’ve always thought that Republicans, so call believers of functioning markets, should be supporting cap and trade. Carbon is an externality with tons of hidden costs. I mean, Cap’n trade encourages least-cost solutions, and is set up to allow markets to solve the problem. In a way, it’s a very conservative solution.

  5. paulm says:

    Lets see how wrong climate scientist can be…

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/arctic-summer-may-be-icefree-in-30-years-1662240.html

    They first predicted the Arctic Sea Ice would melt in 100yrs time but now they say it will go in the next ~25yrs!

    I bet they are totally wrong…

    I bet it is going to disappear in the next 5yrs.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Its certainly an odd position to see associated with the Republican name – its hard to even take it seriously as something authentic (and not created by another group posing as Republicans). It’d be nice if this actually had some traction within the power centers of the Republican party – but that seems highly doubtful, their party listens to where the money comes from (Big Hydrocarbon Industries/Interests) on this issue and have bet the political farm there.

    My personal opinion will be the Republican party will continue to gradually marginalize itself until we get some really big costly issues from climate change here in the US and people start to figure out where they’ve put us (they’ll also figure how inadequate the Dems have been as well) – at which point the Republicans will be able to live a reincarnation of the “Hoover” brand or worse – and become bit players as a political party. It would seem entirely plausible, as things become desperate, that our political system would fracture into 3 or 4 parties with some power with the Greens (due to the inadequacy of the Dems to Climate Change) and maybe Libertarian groups gaining traction after the implosion of the Republicans.

    Maybe groups like this will turn things around for the Republican party, but it would seem to literally take a miracle to do so.

  7. Will Greene says:

    If REP ran the Republican Party I would be a Republican. Those guy(s) are awesome. Although foreign policy would probably keep me voting Democrat if I really think about it.

  8. I checked out the REP web site and was surprised to find that they’ve been around since 1995. Although I spend at least an hour a day reading online news and blogs on energy, climate change, and politics, until this post I had never heard of this group.

    Somewhat puzzling that they haven’t had more visibility; heck, even the Log Cabin Republicans are better known. Of course, the Big Tent of the Republicans relegates most of the discordant factions as cushions for the larger elephants to the bleachers.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the MSM spent as much time exploring factional Republican voices as they do to factional Democratic ones? Party discipline is, I suspect, more a feature of the Congressional ‘bots than of party members as a whole. Definitely time to highlight the growing schisms and to drive the wedges in deeper. Not all Democrats are proving very useful on advancing sane and realistic policies on energy and climate change. A once-a-generation political realignment appears possible.

  9. thomas says:

    typo in the leader: “I know what you’re think — there are Republicans For Environmental Protection?”

    I think it should say, “I know what you’re thinking…”

    [JR: Thanks!]

  10. Wellington once said critically of one of his generals, “He gets involved in battles he can not win.”

    It is personally aggravating to find myself acknowledging serious good sense in Boehner’s position. Yes, he definitely oversimplifies. Saying it will cost $3100 per year in added electric bills per household might not be correct; we can indeed defer the added cost to future generations, either in bond issues as we do in California, or by piling on more national debt or in printing money at the federal level.

    Some might argue that the business world will absorb the cost of higher priced coal. Surely, we know by now that all costs ultimately descend on the consumer. As discussed above, they will be paid now or later.

    Of course tax cuts could help. Huh? Certainly redistribution of wealth by tax cuts could help some people; but when applied to the middle class, it can not be meaningfully done. If tax cuts provide people with enough disposable cash, they will simply be able to afford continued use of energy, unabated. The net effect on CO2: Zero.

    Well, there is one other escape path for the consumer. That is to conserve. Insulation is a meaningful answer for new construction but for existing buildings this is quite limited in applicability since much that could be imagined turns out to be quite cost prohibitive. Thus, insulation offers slow remediation. Squigly light bulbs will help too, but not to the degree needed.

    So the only thing left seems to be more use of non-coal sources. Now comes the nasty question of affordability. Again it has to be seriously thought through so a further load does not come down on the consumer. No, don’t think rebates, tax credits, or whatever; these all deplete the public trough which has to be refilled, sooner or later.

    Where is a battle we can win? We better get looking because this carbon (CO2 gdit) tax thing is not looking like a path to climate progress.

  11. Thank you very much for sharing this article let see how it will be helpful for Environmental Protection.

  12. Hank Roberts says:

    “CDM Registration” (the real one) is a UN clean development agency.

    The link behind the post at 7:21 am appears to be by a bot advertising a company called “Emergent Ventures” — Google it and you’ll find word salad vaguely related to threads, in many places.