Why President Obama Is Wrong To Separate The Economy And Climate

Obama can't keep pushing climate away.

by Kiley Kroh

President Barack Obama raised expectations for climate action when he said in his election night acceptance speech that “we want our children to live in an America that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

But in his first post-election press conference, he backed away, implying that climate must take a back seat to dealing with the country’s economic woes – a distinction echoed by his spokesperson Jay Carney shortly thereafter. The President is exactly right in his first statement and dead wrong in his second.

Sweeping action to address climate change faces enormous political opposition, especially when the economy is the dominant issue of the day. But the reality is that they can be approached simultaneously. In fact, this decision to separate the economy and the environment is a marked reversal from the president’s previous statements.

In March, for example, Obama stated quite clearly that environmental and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive:

“There will always be people in this country who say we’ve got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy, between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. And I’m here to tell you that is a false choice. That is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for ourselves and our children.”

In addition to addressing the urgent need to curb our carbon emissions, the economic benefits of dealing with climate change should merit their inclusion in both short-term policy discussions about deficit reduction and long-term economic growth strategies.

For example, a recent analysis from the Congressional Research Service found that a modest carbon tax of $20 per ton that rises 5.6 percent annually could cut the projected 10-year deficit by 50 percent — from $2.3 trillion down to $1.1 trillion. If designed correctly, a carbon tax could help shift the burden of paying for pollution (and solutions to it) from taxpayers to polluters, as well as generate much-needed revenue that could be used for a variety of purposes, including paying down the debt, incentivizing clean energy, and building our resiliency to climate change.

Climate action through clean energy investment has a variety of economic benefits in both the near and long term, driving investments that put people back to work now and increase our economy’s productivity over time. Such policies simultaneously reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, curb carbon emissions, and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.  A few specific examples:

  • Investment in energy efficiency is a win-win for the climate and the economy. The U.S. wastes an estimated $130 billion a year on inefficient buildings and appliances, an obvious and costly drag on the economy. Buildings consume nearly 49 percent of all energy in the economy and emit nearly half of total carbon emissions. A 2011 CAP analysis found that retrofitting just 40 percent of the nation’s residential and commercial building stock would create 625,000 sustained full-time jobs over a decade – especially in the hard-hit construction and manufacturing sectors – generating as much as $64 billion per year in cost savings for U.S. energy ratepayers.
  • As climate change diminishes our natural resources, efficient use of lands and oceans will benefit both the planet’s health and the country’s economy. On public lands, conservation-related industries – such as tourism, recreation, and renewable energy development – have enormous economic value and job creation potential. The same can be said for the various sustainable ocean and coastal industries that fuel our nation’s blue economy – with coastal restoration in particular providing a tremendous opportunity to create jobs across a wide range of skill sets, diversify local economies, and help protect coastal communities from the increasingly severe storms that result from climate change.
  • Though significant action to address climate change will require a substantial investment, failure to act will be far more costly. A new World Bank report released yesterday carried the dire warning that we’re on track for a 4°C warmer world by as soon as 2060, a catastrophic scenario “marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.” With the impacts of pollution currently costing us $500 billion a year and climate destruction already hurting lower and middle-class Americans the most, the implication that climate action would come at the expense of economic growth becomes even more glaringly off-base.

Far from distinct and unrelated, climate and the economy are inextricably linked. The transformation from a predominantly carbon-intensive economy to one built on clean energy will be an enormous undertaking, but one that bears vast potential for job creation, economic diversification, and equipping communities to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change. This shift is not an option. It is imperative.

Last week the International Energy Agency released its annual World Energy Outlook report which made headlines for projecting that the U.S. could become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020. The much bigger story, however, is their warning that over 2/3 of the world’s proven reserves need to still be in the ground in 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic climate change.

A new PriceWaterhouseCooper study echoed this urgency, concluding we need to quadruple our current rate of decarbonization in order to avoid the absolutely devastating 4°C scenario. We must aggressively deploy clean technologies, internalize the actual price of pollution by putting a price on carbon, and make major investments in climate resiliency. In short, the time for piecemeal solutions has passed.

When it comes to finally tackling climate change head-on, rhetoric will not suffice. It is no longer an option to continue kicking the can down the road, hoping for a better political climate or more stable economy.

As David Remnick writes in the New Yorker, Obama must escape the dangerous Washington mindset that believes “a difficulty delayed is a difficulty allayed” because in the case of climate change, “there will not be a better time. There will only be worse times.”

The President must stop separating climate action from economic well-being. It’s a wrong — and dangerous — policy stance.

Kiley Kroh is the Associate Director for Ocean Communications at the Center for American Progress.

43 Responses to Why President Obama Is Wrong To Separate The Economy And Climate

  1. Merrelyn Emery says:

    It was always a failure of silly mechanistic thinking to separate the ‘economy’ from ecology. I would have appreciated more insight into why the Prez has chosen this time to regress, if there is any, ME

  2. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    We need to transition to an economy based on renewables.

    This transition could have been painless, but that time has past.

    Now the transition will be difficult. Let us not wait until the transition is impossible.

    We stop using fossil fuels, either by choice or by being unable to get at the remaining reserves. We are headed to massive climate destabilisation without the benefit of any sufficient energy source.

    Our oceans are becoming barren, we are running out of essential fertilzer components (phospherous and potassium) The remaining fossil fuels are getting increasingly difficult to get at.

    Keep on kicking the can down the road and these problems are likely to to become unmanageble at the same time.

    The adaptions and the mitigations are the same in many cases. But we are the do nothing generation, destined to be saying “if only…”

    Tick tick tick

  3. David Heintz says:

    I could not agree more or more vehemently. The inflated state of the U.S. consumerist, militarist economy, and its history, are the primary contributors to the climate crisis and the other components of a global environmental crisis. Both by direct actions and by example, the U.S. economy has set the stage for the ecosystem catastrophe that we will all share, our children to an even greater degree.

  4. aenoch says:

    He gets his script from the overlords and then gets up there and does his act. If there is any expectation of rhyme or reason, then there will probably be disappointment. Even with all the creative use of language that they teach at Harvard, it’s still hard to make species suicide sound reasonable.
    All that silly blah, blah, blah about the lights out in NYC and that drought goes on and on, so he had to say something or was it nothing.

  5. Artful Dodger says:

    What ever happened to the proposed ‘windfall profits’ tax? Let the polluters pay. Big Oil has pocketed a trillion dollars in the last century by artificially and relentlessly raising the price of their products. They’ve blamed scarcity while raising production. They’ve increased profits by enabling wars. Time to settle up, boys.

  6. Mark Shapiro says:

    1) The best we can hope for from the President on this is for his thinking to “evolve”. For that to happen, the case has to get stronger and stronger in the Public eye (not just our understanding here at CP).

    2) For any chance to tame the denial propaganda machine, focus on the people who decide to fund it: the CEOs and boards of the bigs. Tie their names to the droughts, floods, storms, and heatwaves to come. Let all know that this is their legacy.

  7. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Well if he is totally scripted, why did the ‘overlords’ change the tune? ME

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    Study after study shows that continued reliance on fossil fuels results in fewer jobs and costs far more than making the transition to renewable energy. That’s why Germany and Sweden have the healthiest economies in Europe.

    Obama obviously cannot be trusted, going back to 2009. The best explanation is my friend Jennifer’s:

    “I used to date a Harvard law guy, who was one of about 30 picked out as a future leader by the people who actually run this country. They are groomed, supported in their early campaigns, and vetted to make sure that they will not betray their masters. Clinton and Obama were chosen, but both parties are covered. Obama doesn’t care about “the economy”. He is a Manchurian candidate, trained to what he is told. In this case, it’s all about the .1% and the 20+ trillion in fossil fuel assets. They won’t give that up, and are actually in favor of depopulation from global warming, since they think the rabble has become too big”.

    I don’t know if she’s right, but it has a proven logic. As for the coming devaluation of unburned fossil fuels, we can adapt to that, as Rex says. We cannot adapt to a planet on fire.

  9. Brooks Bridges says:

    I just went to

    There is nothing about earth day 2013 – nothing. Just 2012 and 2011.

    At (they had “thousands” at the demonstration on Nov 18)

    “And people are taking notice. On Friday, Big Oil’s senators sent a letter to Obama urging approval of the pipeline and citing “concerns” about demonstrators.

    But we know yesterday’s action won’t be enough to win this fight. So we used this action to announce another one: next President’s Day, February 18, 2013, we’ll be back. This time, let’s make it 20,000. Will you join us next Februrary and help give Big Oil something to really be concerned about? ”

    I applaude and admire Bill McKibben – seems the only one off his rear and in the streets – I went to his marches last year and would have this year except sick.

    But 20,000? Yeah, that’s gonna put the fear of whatever into those politicians and oil companies.

    Does anyone know of an organization with the potential to help him significantly exceed his expectations?

  10. Stephanie Liaci says:

    OBAMA! IF YOU ARE READING THIS!!!! I know you know what’s right. I know you are a smart man, and a progressive man, even if you are surrounded by douchebags! May I direct your memory to Bush, and that legacy he left you of EXTREME executive power! He used it to start a fake war and torture people. Well, take his trick and use it to save the world. Save our kids.

    How old will Sasha and Malia be in 2060? Lisa Liaci will be 52. Zoey Liaci will be 47!

    There is no higher office for you to achieve. You have no more elections to “compromise” for. Now do the right thing and fight the greatest threat to humanity since the Bubonic Plague! Think, as a Pharaoh would, of your immortal legacy! Do you want to be remembered as the guy who “got along” with the Oil and Coal douches, or the man who stopped his nation’s forward march to destruction!!!!

    We, the MAJORITY who voted for you, are behind you!

  11. Stephanie Liaci says:

    Where will the protest be? My family is in!

  12. Stephanie Liaci says:

    There are hippies everywhere, and college students,and moms, and churches who are supportive of the cause. i was surprised but a couple years back i read about a collection of evangelical churches who spoke out against inaction on climate change. i’m sure you can just google it and have your group contact him.

    I’d also recommend putting signs up, or better, speaking in colleges and college towns. smart people know what’s up. i have a bunch of universities in 20 miles of me that might shake up a decent crowd if there was a website and contact info about the protest, and it was in the NYC area. Perhaps even if not,tho a lot less would come.

    I’m probably not telling u anything u don’t know, i’m hardly an activist. But you all just need to expand your outreach. We obviously outnumber them, so if you get the word out eventually they will come. I will come when I can.

    I was interested to read on this website also about oil companies talking about taking a carbon tax. Maybe the new generation is rising in the old industries: that’s what we need. We don’t need to crush them really, as much as I bash them lol. We need their infrastructure (technological especially), their manpower, their excellent laboratories, and of course their resources. We need them to be on board one day, and the best of them will be. They will figure out how to profit too, and they should, if they do it ethically.

    Progressive moms, train little scientists and engineers!!!

  13. What if we designated a single day for zero energy? A day in which we all pledged not to use a single molecule of fossil energy. No lights, no heat, no driving, no tv, no radio, no phone, and no, no internet.

    I wonder if we could do it.

    The way to disempower the fossil fuel companies is to deprive them of profit. A boycott.

    One day, maybe the summer solstice.Just to see if it could be done.

  14. Tom Bennion says:

    Everyone has a cellphone. How hard would it be to write apps that tell you when thermal power is high on the grid and other ways to provide real time on co2 generating uses at local through to state level. We now have a superb tool to allow individuals who ask “what can I do” to engage immediately in group actions to lower emissions locally regionally, and get real time feedback. In other words, why not crowd source policy on lowering emissions?

  15. I like it. Hurricane Koch.

  16. If the Pres sells us out on climate change, and it looks like he will, it won’t be the first time. Anybody remember the much vaunted closing of GITMO?

    I think Obama means well, but he is surrounded by political handlers who only look at votes and polls, not reality. They don’t realize that Nature is calling the shots here, and no focus group meme will change the physics of global warming.

  17. Motley Green says:

    Hats off to Mr Obama and First of all Congrats in making to the second term. We strongly feel that Green and Climate issues are now integral part of Politics and Economy. You JUST CAN NOT devise a political or economical strategies by not considering GREEN and CLIMATE.

    Save the planet while you network!

  18. Paul Magnus says:

    I dont think Obama has the back bone to do this. Hes just too fine and dandy for the job.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Exactly. It took approximately two weeks for Obama to reveal his true spots again. The patsies having been fooled twice (shame on them) it’s back to the real, unchanging, Obama. As you say, the servant of the money power that recruited him at college, gave him his first job, and has financed him throughout his career. Gay marriage and climate change have gone down the ‘Memory Hole’ already, but massive cuts to welfare and Social Security are very much still on the table.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    All I can see in the MSM and amongst the political reptiles here is gloating over the shale boom in the USA, unflinching determination to mine every ounce of coal, a rapidly escalating attack on renewable energy and every environmental law in the country (vilified as ‘Green Tape’)and the MSM giving over more space and time to the denialist cabal. In other words, business as usual.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Concerns’ about demonstrators, eh? Methinks that a ‘false flag’ ‘eco-terrorist’ outrage may not be far off.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He was and is supposed to prosecute torturers, under International Law and US law. But he simply granted total impunity, with the argument that these acts were ‘in the past’. Imagine if they’d offered that defence at Nuremberg!

  23. Ozonator says:

    The CIA just deleted their AGW unit. It quickly gave extremist Republicans and Christians a topic in their media outlets and a victory for legal terrorism. However, al-Qaida has long exposed AGW ideas in addition to what naturally come from a true religion taking human form in water-challenged ecosystem. Father of neo-plantations, Looter Limbaugh just ended his 4th sham marriage with still no children. For example, Muslim nations are sitting on a time bomb of ~50% young people looking for work and a life which can easily turn into pursuit of warfare. For example, Goma of 1+ million people just fell to 2K+ that formed this year for rare-earth mineral extraction funded by Rwanda. And yet, the extreme GOP publicly dwells on the loss of our people in Libya as their supporters sell NRA weapons from Mexico to Uganda to islanders in the South Pacific. The CIA must look like Mormon missionaries to the old white males investing in the House of Representatives.

  24. prokaryotes says:

    Just, wow….

    There is a disconnect between what your written on economy in Europe and then it gets very weird. Jennifer… man, give it some time Obama just won reelection.

  25. NJP1 says:

    we are locked into a commercial system that demands growth
    capitalism doesn’t have a reverse gear or a brake, we go on until we hit the wall of finite resources. it really is that simple folks. And we are all capitalists, like it or not
    we face a triumvirate of chaos, overpopulation, energy depletion and food shortage. they are acting in unison, yet there is an odd inclination to address them separately. it doesn’t matter which hits first, it will exacerbate the other two.
    The only ‘fix’ to all this is what nature will fix herself, humanity can only tinker around with it. As the planet heats up, (its fever), climate change will be the sneeze that gets rid of us, simply by cutting off the food that the planet has supplied so amply until now.
    Every species that outbreeds its environment invariably has its food supply removed. this law of nature is immutable. perhaps our biggest mistake was in granting ourselves immunity from the laws of physics.
    we were never the creation of any god, just a big brained primate who learned how to control fire

  26. Dave Bradley says:

    In my region of this country, the price paid for electricity to generators this year has averaged 3 cents/ kw-hr. Of course, this is only a small fraction of what most residential customers pay in their monthly electricity bill, but no matter. At this low price, not even natural gas generators can produce electricity without losing money.

    So how do you sell renewable energy into such a “market”. Even the lowest cost non-hydro renewable – wind – can’t sell in this market even with the 4.5 c/kw-hr worth of subsidies/adders available until the end of this year (1.4 c/kw-hr for RPS, 2.8 c/kw-hr for combined PTC/rapid depreciation).

    If you can’t make money (and in fact, lose money) selling renewable electricity, why would you invest more money in wind farms to make more electricity? You wouldn’t. And so you wouldn’t buy any more wind turbines or spend money to install that which you are not buying. So nobody is employed making them, or the parts that go into them, or installing them. That is no way to get any kind of business or labor backing for renewable energy….

    If you decide to raise the cost of generated electricity from 3 to 6 c/kw-hr so that wind is barely profitable, everyone will pay that exa fee, and the public at large will hate those who push such an approach, and will punish any politician who proposes such a price increase. Raising the prices for 96% of all generated electricity so that 4% of that made does not lose money (as long as massive tax avoidance incentives a provided) does not seem to make any sense….

    Of course, even if you allow wind to be sold at its real cost plus a 10% profit (in this area, raising it to around 10 c/kw-hr without the subsidies) and blended that in, average prices would rise by 0.28 c/kw-hr for each 4% of regional electricity supplied by wind or similar priced renewables (maybe biogas and biomass, though certainly not PV) and while this would not be well liked, it would be “politically sellable”. That 4% is around 85 MW delivered, or 255 MW capacity, or around $650 million invested, and even the local installation part of that piece of the action (about $200 million) would win the day, because the real unemployment rate in parts of this region averages over 20%, and for about a quarter of the employable population, pushing 50%.

    We just don’t have a high enough population of employed at decent wages and/or those living large on investments to eat a 3 c/kw-hr rise in electricity prices and shrug it off as the minimal price of saving the climate. After all, for an area with about a million people, eating an additional half a billion dollars per year of basic living costs for that 3 c/kw-hr would be a big deal. Most would suspect that money would go elsewhere, anyway, and that few real wealth increasing jobs would come to our region for such a price increase. And having the business class and the press/media they own saying that such a price increase for businesses would lead to lay-offs – even if it would not – would also be a politically potent attack on the politics of raising the base price of electricity so that some renewables could be barely profitable. And then the PV folks (the real price needed for PV – with the 18c/kw-hr tax avoidance subsidies added in would be over 30 c/kw-hr) would want in on this, despeite the fact that they would need that least 30 c/kw-hr extra to cover their costs.

    Anyway, the moral to the story is that it makes more sense to allow renewables to be sold at a price that is viable to them and then blend that in to the current overall price of electricity. Raising the price for all electricity to a level where the lowest cost (including the tax avoidance (for the really, really rich) subsidies for wind) renewable electricity source can be sold at not-losing-money prices is very costly in both economic and political terms.

    But which approach will most of the traditional environmental community and “enviro press” push? Probably the one that is hated the most by the majority of the population – you know, the ones in the bottom 90% of the income brackets. And you wonder why renewables aren’t doing a lot of business, and why we are not selling $200 billion/yr of wind turbine business in just this country, instead of a mere $25 billion/yr….

  27. John McCormick says:

    NJP1, a great comment.

    I found: “we were never the creation of any god, just a big brained primate who learned how to control fire” poetic.

    You could also add our evolving “ego”..out of control.

  28. Anders Hsi says:

    As the economy is the foundation for most people’s daily lives, the environment is the foundation for our society and for the economy. Everything is fundamentally connected. In an urbanizing world, people may feel more closely connected to their jobs and to the economy, but as we live lives increasingly separated from nature, we actually rely ever more on the soundness of our natural environment. Wake up politicians! We elected you for your vision!

  29. rural electric says:

    Rural electric uses attorneys only trained and paid to see cleaner coal, these same attorneys go on to elected positions. Deregulation is impossible with attorneys who have expense accounts furnished by these monopolies. The problem of these political contributions is devastating. Many do not want 401k invested in coal to drop with so many retiring.

  30. FromOz says:

    It’s the ecology, stupid

    ecology = economy = good housekeeping

  31. Jay Alt says:

    Don’t worry folks. Obama has a plan to tame the climate.
    But it’s secret, he can’t talk about it.

  32. Kent Doering says:

    Mike as an ex-pat in Germany, give Obama some time. And I would sincerely suggest to everybody to take a good look at the German renewable energy laws, its eco tax system, and the coming “e-TALLY” programs.

    The fact is, Germany reduced its fossil fuel consumption by 50% since 1992 by a broad synergy of mostly energy efficiency measures and a forced build out of solar p.v. and wind power, and deep geothermal feeding long distance heat-hot water lines.

    Sustainability pays off in spades – because with every efficiency measure you introduce, the less fossil fuel you use, leaving money to invest in other forms of efficiency measures, and the effects start to cumulate, as demand for efficienc measures grows. These also amortize quickly due to the fuel savings involved.

    Being abstract- the German “sustainability” sector is now the largest sector of the German economy – larger than its automotive industry now at 12% of its G.N.P. and expected to grow to be 20% by 2020.

    As I write, manure digesters- producing methane – are being installed on German farms somewhere…and they feed into fuel cells- average power output per farm- 150 kw. for farm building heat and power.By the end of 2025- all 200.000 German farms will be equipped with it- generating at least 22 GW of power while eliminating greenhouse gas methane emissions. (bio-waste fuel system) That eliminates the need for 88 big 250 MW coal burning power plants. (In addition to the massive inland wind and solar voltaic installation programs in rural areas.)

    (And farmers make money off rooftop solar, wind cooperatives, and manure methane generated power.)

    As I write, crews are out putting up three inch insulation on building facades and six inch insulation on flat building roofs. (part of the renwable energy laws). Other crews are out replacing older windows with 1 inch wide vacuum insulation windows.
    (The apartment building where I reside was upgraded that way.)
    As I write, other crews with back hoes are putting in more well insulated – long distance heat hot water lines. Still other crews are going in, tearing out the old heating oil units- and replacing them with the long distance heat hot water systems.

    (Munich has Europes most extensive and intensively connected long distance heat hot water system… and it saves over 5 million barrels of heating oil a year!)

    As I write- VW-Lichtblick utilities are going into multiple family dwellings- that are otherwise upgrading with insulation and solar voltaic- and installing rooftop solar heat- combined with gas driven CHP – systems- i.e. a small four cylinder engine- driving a generator- with heat recapture for the heat- SMART GRID coordinated- as back up baseline power and heat for solar p.v. and solar heat- . The 100.000 units will form a “virtual “SWARM” power plant that is the equivalent of two nuclear power plants.

    As I write a major European automtove supplier is doing the final optimisation of “all aqueous ” vehicle which runs off ordinary tap water. This will also impact on the expanding installation of in building combined heat power systems displacing oil heat systems. That is, instead of oil heating, buildings will receive heat and power from rooftop- run-off rainwater driving aqeuous fuel CHP systems- SMART GRID coordinated.

    Germany cut 50% off its 92 fossil fuel consumption by many different, synergetic measures, and will continue to cut with existing and emerging technologies.

    As for nuclear. It provided 25% of German power. Now, some of the nuclear reactors have shut down, and the remaining reactors are scheduled for shut down. What do we do with them. A group of researchers in Munich is now experimenting with “magnetic resonance steam ignition”. I.E. steam is loaded with electro-weak infrared light.. and that extra energy in steam – can be used to energy and cost efficiently break it down to either Brown´s gas hho molecules- which burn-very nicely thank you… and or fully separated hydrogen and oxygen… violating the Helmholtz first and second laws of thermodynamics and his llustrative dictum that “you cannot run a steam engine off its own steam.” Magnetic resonance steam ignition turns those laws upside down. It was really not hard to figure out how to do it. So instead of just mothballing the nukes, Germany will soon be upgrading them with MRSI (magnetic resonance steam ignition) Erskine cycle gas turbines driving generators- backed up against the Rankine cycle steam turbines- with the hot Erskine cycle aqeuous fuel exhausts- driving the stem generation in combined cycle operation.
    That will bring the nukes- currently generating 15% of German power, back on line, with double the power output running “aqueous fuel systems”…magnetic resonance steam ignition. (Yes, we can” We can literally get a steam engine to run off its own steam!)
    There are other emerging technologies hee. The point is, Germany has already cut consumption by 50% since 92, and it looks like it will do the other 50% by 2025- in an economic and efficient way.

    I`ll close with one deveopment I particularly like- Thermodul. It is lost mould- insulation system for poured concrete buildings which actually lowers construction costs – as this requires no taking down of wooden mould and then putting up insulation. The insulation system itself is the mould- and it cuts air conditioning and heat energy needs by 90% compared to a non-insulated concrete or brick building. Add mandated shallow geothermic- vacuum solar, and aqueous CHP heat- with solar voltaic systems on the roof, and the building is totally – off fossil fuels… and even consistently and constantly feeds power into the grid.
    It owuld be a great s<ystem for rebuilding the Rockaway area for example, as it is both fire and storm resistant.

  33. “Politically sellable” — that’s the job of leadership, to make it so. We’ve been free-riding forever on the cost of the environmental damage we’ve created, essentially punting that cost into the future. Well, the future has arrived, and it’s knocking on the door and looking for the balloon payment that’s now due. Just because some people don’t want to pay it back–or can’t–doesn’t mean the lender (nature) is going to forgive the debt.

    A carbon price would make renewables viable. It would also discourage further investment in fossil. Stranded investment in fossil is a huge problem, much bigger than poor people unable to afford a few more cents per kilowatt. They can at least control the thermostat and the tv. We all have to make a sacrifice to pay back the debt. It’s unfair that people of lesser means are going to be disproportionately impacted, but it’s also unfair that we have this fatal problem in the first place.

    A carbon price, now, with a clear message to those who fear another big-government money-grab: we have no choice.

  34. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Germans show the way, and one fervently hopes for more co-operation between them and the Chinese. It’s simply the triumph of rationality and the desire to avert catastrophe and a sign that the non-Anglosphere Right is not as deranged as it is in the UK, Canada, the USA and Australia. However I think that the absence of giant hydrocarbon interests in Germany may explain part of the success.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Ozo, ‘al-Qaeda’ was established by the CIA, and has worked for them ever since, in Bosnia, Chechnya, Xinjiang, Libya and Syria amongst other places. When you run out of enemies to justify your power, simply recruit more.

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Why not simply subsidise electricity prices? The Government in the USA subsidised Wall Street after its rackets imploded by twenty trillion or so, and subsidises the military industrial complex to the tune of a trillion every year, still increasing. If you subsidise electricity and mandate renewables you save quintillions (at the very least) in avoiding the ‘externality’ of complete climate derangement, the cost of which is literally infinite.

  37. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Until he’s retired to that nice job at Goldman Sachs.

  38. “Nobody likes a back seat driver”

    — by Horatio Algeranon

    Climate change
    Must take a back-seat
    To jobs and growth
    And the Keystone feat.

  39. prokaryotes says:

    “The CIA for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change,” Ebitz said in a statement to Greenwire. “This work is now performed by a dedicated team in an office that looks at a variety of economic and energy security issues affecting the United States.”

    My guess is, not much changed. However it is puzzling why they do not at least bother to release some kind of report.

  40. John McCormick says:

    Dave Bradley, I’m catching up on you and the work of the Wind Action Group. Very impressive.

    I’ll be in touch with you soon about Indian Point replacement power.

  41. Jan says:

    Perhaps a later biography will reveal this. He is sometimes a total mystery. Why, on earth, does he morph to a right wing talking point apologist???
    Does he rally understand the urgency of needed action? Doesn’t he talk with Dr. Chu? Is this just a feint in “playing the game” in order to make his move? This waltzing to the edge is driving me crazy!

    How about some Prsidential ganas?! We need to declare war on climate change, claim that it is a national security issue, and use Pentagon funds for a wartime level investment in low carbon energy.

  42. Jan says:

    Asks Keystone Sludge of Canada,
    “May we borrow America?
    And wrest the farm of your Ma and Pa?

    Add gigatons of C excreta?
    And trash forests vast as Florida?”

    Say “hell, NO”. we’d rather go with wind and sola’!