Independence Day may be the best day to ask ourselves — what is the greatest, preventable threat to Americans’ life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (LLPH). The answer is simple — human-caused global warming. Certainly there are other major threats to LLPH, the gravest of which is probably terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapon, in this country.
Between Homeland Security and the Pentagon, we spend billions of dollars every month to try to prevent terrorism. Indeed, President Bush and John McCain say Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. If so, the government spends more than $20 billion a month just to fight terrorism — of which more than half is new money we were’nt spending before 9/11 (and we spend more than $50 billion a month total on military and homeland security). And those who oppose such spending are routinely labeled unpatriotic or even appeasers.
But unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are by far the greatest preventable threat to Americans’ LLPH (see “Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 0: The alternative is humanity’s self-destruction and Part 2: The Solution“). Yet the government spends virtually nothing to fight global warming — certainly no significant amount of new money has been allocated for this major threat (the Clinton Administration tried, but the Gingrich Congress reversed that effort, reducing or zeroing out every program aimed at climate mitigation or even adaptation).
Indeed most conservatives, including John McCain, oppose merely continuing existing incentives for carbon-mitigating strategies like solar and wind power. Conservatives in Congress seem likely to strongly oppose any major effort at a legislative solution (see “Anti-science conservatives must be stopped“).
Hmm. What should we call people who actively oppose efforts to save America from the horrors posed by the greatest threat to Americans’ LLPH? Deniers? Delayers? Worse? The main reason I am bringing this up today is that conservative columnist Tony Blankley, Newt Gingrich’s former press secretary, questioned the patriotism of environmentalists on the Diane Rehm show yesterday: