Really, David Brooks?

I sat down at my computer this morning intending to blast away at an academic article I’m writing but only after peeking at the NY Times.  I thought a little newspaper reading would be the end of my procrastination until I read David Brooks, something I don’t always do but couldn’t resist when I saw the headline, “A Sad Green Story.”  But once I read it I had to respond.

I knew from the headline that Solyndra would make an appearance.  What I didn’t expect was that Al Gore would take all the blame for the inexcusable, irresponsible science-bashing intransigence on climate change we’ve seen from the Republican party.  Here’s Brooks:

Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006. The global warming issue became associated with the highly partisan former vice president. Gore mobilized liberals, but, once he became the global warming spokesman, no Republican could stand shoulder to shoulder with him and survive. Any slim chance of building a bipartisan national consensus was gone.

So if not for Al Gore the Republican party would be champions of progressive climate change regulation?  Republican opposition has nothing to do with a heavily orchestrated campaign funded by climate change opponents, including  the American Enterprise Institute, which receives huge funding from Exxon Mobile, and offered bounties to scientists willing to criticize the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment?  And heavy opposition emerged only after An Inconvenient Truth even though the Bush Administration was stacked with former lobbyists from the oil and gas industry?  And the Republican opposition has nothing to do with the fact that industry groups funded orchestrated campaigns to persuade the public that climate change wasn’t real long before Al Gore released his movie? And opposition is unrelated to the tens of millions of dollars the electric utility and oil and gas lobbies have poured into campaign coffers, the vast majority going to Republican candidates?  Or, less nefariously, that a pesky little thing like the global recession damped public support for doing something about climate change?

And that’s only the start of my complaints about the Brooks editorial.  But I’ve got to get back to my article.

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About Ann

Ann Carlson is currently on leave from UCLA School of Law. She is the Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and was the founding Faculty Director of the Emmett I…

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