The Washington Post

Climate change isn’t a dead issue

The conventional view that climate change is a moribund political issue is too simplistic. True, the economy has crowded out all other issues in polls, but the climate crisis and its solutions represent untapped political potential.

The denial about the crisis that plagues most of the Republican field is of a piece with their magical thinking on so many problems facing the country. On the deficit, the party’s answer rules out any new revenues as part of the soIution. On economic growth and income inequality, their main answer is to cut taxes and regulations. On immigration, there is broad support for building a wall along on our southern border.

Similarly on climate, the candidates are split in two camps: those who deny the problem and those who admit it is happening but at the same time embrace energy policies like tar sands that will make it worse. (FYI: Ed, hacked emails taken out of context do not refute the overwhelming scientific evidence of an accelerating climate crisis.) As my friend and client Al Gore has said, isn't time for a little reality? "We are borrowing money from China to buy oil from countries that hate us and burning it in ways that destroy our planet", Gore has said.

That's a pretty good message, but I doubt we will be hearing it anytime soon. And, in fairness to Republicans, this timidity extends to the president, as Ed points out, despite his early efforts to pass climate legislation. 

So what's the opportunity being missed on this issue? It's called the future. China, for example, is leading the world in the production of alternative energy technologies, not only to solve their own emissions crisis, but to dominate an emerging economic market. We used to invent the future, now we outsource it. A candidate who can connect those dots would be well-served.


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