So much for “consensus climate solutions”

Our friend Jon Adler has taken many of us and most progressives to task for not pursuing “consensus solutions” to climate change.  What might these consensus climate solutions be?  Well, Jon insists that it would look something like a revenue-neutral carbon tax (such as is proposed by the superb Carbon Tax Center) instead of a “big government solution” like Waxman-Markey.

I’m quite sympathetic to a revenue-neutral carbon tax.  Unfortunately, Jon’s allies on the right are not.  As much as he would like to believe that there is a consensus here, there isn’t.

Jon’s favorite example of how the revenue-neutral carbon tax represents a consensus are proposals by such as Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC).  Well, listen to what Rep. Inglis has to say about Republicans:

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) . . .  expressed his frustrations with the GOP’s trajectory toward climate change denial Wednesday in a harsh rebuke that blasted his party’s hard-headed refusal to listen to scientific experts.

“Because 98 of the doctors say, ‘Do this thing,’ two say, ‘Do the other.’ So, it’s on the record. And we’re here with important decision to be made.” Inglis said of his party’s readiness to listen to minority dissenting voices on the issue. “There are people who make a lot of money on talk radio and talk TV saying a lot of things. They slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and they’re experts on climate change. They substitute their judgment for people who have Ph.D.s and work tirelessly [on climate change].”

Better yet, you can watch the whole thing.

Oh, and there’s an important reason why Inglis himself can’t be the leader to achieve a “consensus solution”: he lost his primary to an extreme right-winger by more than 40 points, in no small part because of his desire to reach “consensus solutions” on issues like climate.

You can be a believer in making climate policy based on science, or you can be a Republican.  You cannot be both.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “So much for “consensus climate solutions””

  1. Jonathan said:

    “…You can be a believer in making climate policy based on science, or you can be a Republican. You cannot be both…”

    Dear Jonathan,
    I respectfully disagree. One may be a believer in making climage policy based on science and also be conservative. There are legitimate scientific questions and controversy about atmospheric physics, thermodynamics, solar radiation, water vapor, natural cycles, and the specific role of carbon dioxide.

    There is very little discussion of hard science on this forum. Most of the comments and analysis are about political perspectives, consensus, and psychological analysis of the mental and moral defects of so-called “deniers.”

    There is an erroneous belief among those who lack a good understanding of the scientific issues, that the science is somehow “settled” because there is a “consensus” among “scientists.” In reality, there is no consensus and a mere consensus would not settle or conclusively prove the science.

    Presently, there are too many unknowns in the field of climate science to justify or support the establishment of a large government regulatory program for carbon dioxide emissions.

    Many of us are believers in making climate policy based on science and that is what we voted for on Nov. 2. We won in almost every state except California, and climate policy is beginning to improve as we more closely examine the science.


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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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