NYT columnist Tom Friedman slams Lomborg’s nonsense
Well, that didn’t last long.
Last week, it seemed like Washington Post‘s Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt had a real come to … science moment with his blunt op-ed (see WashPost stunner: “The GOP’s climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion”). I noted that it was a man bites dog story because Hiatt “in the past had printed multiple columns by George Will and Sarah Palin spreading disinformation on climate science and who has recycled Wall Street Journal op-eds from the likes of Bjorn Lomborg.”
But Hiatt is back to publishing Lomborg, who now is flinging out new disinformation to see what sticks following his staggering box office bomb “Cool It,” which grossed a whopping $63,000.
Lomborg’s latest piece, “Hold the accolades on China’s ‘green leap forward’ ” is so bad that New York Times columnist Tom Friedman sent me a rare rebuttal. Unfortunately, publishing a rebuttal of Lomborg’s piece means you’re going to have to actually read parts of it. I apologize in advance for that.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is perhaps Congress’ most reliable defender of dirty energy and evangelizer against the “hoax” of global warming. This morning, he took his message to Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, where he extolled the virtues of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas known widely as “fracking.” Fracking is a relatively new and untested technique, but Inhofe insisted that there’s nothing to worry about, as he claimed fracking has “never poisoned anyone” nor ever contaminated groundwater:
INHOFE: [There's] never been one case — documented case — of groundwater contamination in the history of the thousands and thousands of hydraulic fracturing. [...]
KILMEADE: Senator, has it ever poisoned anybody?
INHOFE: It’s never poisoned anyone.
While fracking has the potential to create vast new American energy supplies, Inhofe’s claim that it is completely without risk is either stunningly ignorant or intentionally dishonest. Just yesterday, a blowout at a Pennsylvania natural gas well engaged in fracking spilled thousands of gallons of toxic chemical-laced water, “contaminating a stream and forcing the evacuation of seven families who live nearby as crews struggled to stop the gusher,” the AP reported. Inhofe referenced the Pennsylvania spill in his interview, but said that it has “nothing to do with fracking” because it was a stream, not groundwater that was contaminated.
It’s worth noting that the oil and gas industry has been Inhofe’s top contributor over his political career, giving him over $450,000 in the last election cycle alone, even though Inhofe wasn’t up for reelection. Inhofe’s single largest campaign donor is oil conglomerate Koch Industries.
We’re starting to see pieces of counterfactual history on the climate bill in The New Republic and elsewhere based in part on a widelydebunked “false narrative.” Since cap-and-trade has been so vilified by the entire right wing and even some on the left, I thought I would try to set the record straight on some key points.
I’m not here to say cap-and-trade was the “correct” strategy. And it may be that any strategy was extrinsically “doomed to fail” — that the Senate’s anti-democratic, super-majority 60-vote “requirement” meant that a dedicated minority could have killed any approach — once the Republican Party decided to become the only major political party in the world dedicated to denying science and blocking any action.
I mainly want to show that cap-and-trade was not intrinsically doomed to fail, that it was not obviously or inherently a flawed idea in, say, 2008 — or even 2009. Quite the reverse. Only someone who doesn’t know history – or who chooses to ignore it — could believe that.
Environmentalists and progressives and others pursued cap-and-trade for several reasons most of which have been utterly ignored by the counterfactual revisionists:
The obvious alternatives — especially a carbon tax or a major push on clean energy — had already been harshly rejected, primarily by Republicans. They were both widely seen as divisive and failed strategies.
Cap and trade had strong bipartisan political support, with genuine Senate GOP champions.
Cap and trade had strong public support.
Cap and trade had strong business support, especially from the crucial electric utility industry.
Cap-and-trade could plausibly achieve the key goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whereas an “innovation agenda” couldn’t.
Cap-and-trade could allow the U.S. to make a firm, credible GHG reduction commitment to the world, which was an essential prerequisite for a successful international agreement, which is vital for addressing the problem.
Cap-and-trade could pay for domestic and international adaptation efforts — as well as an international regime to stop deforestation.
Cap-and-trade could pay for a major clean energy effort.
“There are climate change deniers in Congress and when the economy gets tough, sometimes environmental issues drop from people’s radar screens,” Obama told about 200 guests at the Pacific Heights residence of internet billionaire Marc Benioff, according to an official transcript. “But I don’t think there’s any doubt that unless we are able to move forward in a serious way on clean energy that we’re putting our children and our grandchildren at risk. So that’s not yet done.”
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm
When compared to the value of the service they provide, U.S. electric rates are an astonishingly good deal
Richard W. Caperton begins the first in a weekly series of articles on how utility decisionmaking, regulatory structures, energy markets, and consumer behavior all impact the massive deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency products. Caperton is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress.
Under pressure from industry, Congressional Republicans are urging the U.S. EPA to further delay long-overdue rules that would limit more than 80 air toxics emitted by coal-burning power plants, barely a month after the agency announced them.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 21, 2011 at 10:07 am
House oversight committee chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) is marking the one-year anniversary of the death of the 11 Deepwater Horizon workers with attacks on President Obama’s off-shore drilling policy. Think Progress has the story in this repost.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 21, 2011 at 10:00 am
Is BP following through on its pledge to “make things right” in the Gulf Coast? How has the government response been to the spill and what can be improved? What must be done to ensure a robust environmental and economic recovery for the Gulf?
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 21, 2011 at 7:00 am
Should he run, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential platform will likely be one built largely on flip flops. As so aptly illustrated by his whiplash-inducingflip on Libya, the motivating principle behind Gingrich’s positions seems to be whether or not President Obama supports them.
Last night at a Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire, Gingrich put this principle into action, as A Think Progress explains in this repost.
After Gingrich offered that real estate mogul Donald Trump’s birther conspiracy theory presents a “fair question,” reporters pivoted to ask “if climate change is a problem government should address” “” a problem President Obama just slammed Republicans in Congress for denying exists. Gingrich said evidence for climate change is “not nearly complete” and that he viewed a cap-and-trade program as a “massively expensive” plan based on “a theory”:
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