I was in quite a pique when I wrote last Friday about World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wading into the global warming debate via his cliché-ridden op-ed.  I had just about simmered down when I found a “news analysis” by Elisabeth Rosenthal in Saturday’s New York Times. This so-called “news analysis” is a good example of why the left has no credibility on climate change. It underscores the hypocrisy and ignorance that permeate the liberal mindset on the issue. 

The piece does a good job of exposing the quiet death of the requirement that U.S. airlines would have to adopt the taxes that European airlines have to pay in exchange for greenhouse gas credits.  Neither chamber of Congress was subjected to a roll call vote and the president didn’t have a signing ceremony. Neither the Democrats in Congress nor the president have an appetite to advocate for a rise in airfares in order to contribute to an international boondoggle fund supposedly designed to reduce greenhouse emissions.  Particularly, the Democrats and the president didn’t want to bring this up before the election. 

My favorite quote from the “news analysis” is, “air travel emissions now account for only about 5 percent of warming.”  What a ridiculous statement. Five percent of warming?  Not only has the New York Times determined how much the planet has warmed, they’re even able to assign percentages to the offending behaviors. 

The president’s inaugural address has brought this issue back to the center of the political stage in the United States.  The Democrats in Congress and the president now face the burden of saying who they will charge and what burdens they will create in exchange for … something.  We’re about to see where ideology and political practicality collide.  There is no feasible scenario where Americans could do anything to control the world’s climate.  The only question is, how much are we going to pay and what is that amount supposed to get us?

I’ve been watching polling on this issue for several years, and it’s clear that while voters can be concerned about global warming, no one is willing to bear any new cost as a result of their concern.  And no one thinks that government has any real solutions.  Yet according to the president, it will be a major priority of his during the next four years.  It all boils down to higher prices — for air travel, home electricity, shipping, etc.

Republicans can win on this issue if we are thoughtful advocates of mitigation and technological solutions.  Let the Democrats advocate for lifestyle changes, higher costs and higher taxes.  The president has put the issue in play for 2014.  It will be useful for Speaker John Boehner to let there be roll call votes on just about any measure the Democrats want to offer.  Let’s create a record of what the Democrats are willing to vote for vs. what they want to talk about at cocktail parties, campus forums and think tank seminars.