The world’s youth have every right to demand more climate action than Waxman-Markey provides — since they will suffer most from the Baby Boomers’ greed and myopia when the Ponzi scheme we’ve created at their expense collapses.
And yet as a Saturday NYT piece makes clear — “Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser” — youth would appear to have misdirected their anger toward true environmental leaders like Obama, Waxman, and Markey.
Worse, part of the “youth” movement — specifically the website “It’s Getting Hot in Here” and by extension the “Energy Action Coalition,” which features that blog prominently on its website — has been partly co-opted by people who are in fact anti-environmental, people who have repeatedly smeared environmental champions with false accusations, people who have consistently proposed infinitely weaker climate action than Waxman-Markey.
Why has there been no major piece of legislative action on global warming, clean energy, or air pollution in the past two decades? Because increasingly, Republicans will only offer “no” for an answer, while many environmentalists will not take “yes” for an answer. And that leaves precious little room in the middle. If moderates know that voting for even moderate climate and clean energy action like the Waxman-Markey bill will unleash a torrent of criticism and attack ads funded by the right wing and fossil fuel companies, but bring only tepid support, if not outright hostility, from the left, then they are in a lose-lose situation.
Fortunately, we aren’t in that helpless and hopeless place quite yet. The bulk of the environmental and progressive communities understand that, for all its flaws,
- Waxman-Markey would complete the transition to a clean energy economy begun in the stimulus bill.
- It’s failure would not lead to stronger climate action anytime soon — quite the reverse, it would all but doom any prospect of national and, equally important, international action for the foreseeable future, precisely the time-frame in which strong action must begin if our youth are not going to be left with a ruined climate (see here).
Still, the NYT was able to assemble an impressive array of quotes from people with mostly misdirected anger. I’m going to focus just on one: