Climate Politics

Last Week in Climate Change

Is climate action finally starting to develop momentum?

There was some good news last week for those of us who worry about the future of the planet,.  Both inside and outside of Congress, Pope Francis spoke about the need to protect the environment and address climate change.  Some conservative Catholics are eager to dismiss this as simply another misguided opinion by a left-learning Pope. But …


Guess What? The Clean Power Plan Isn’t Going to Destroy America After All.

Compliance isn’t turning out to be that much of a burden.

Here’s the headline from the Washington Post: “Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes.”  Senator Mitch McConnell has been telling all and sundry the plan will be a disaster and states should refuse to have anything to do with it.  But even in his home state, according to the Post, the Clean …


George Will and Conservative Climate Denial

The three types of conservatism all tend to reject climate science, but for different reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, George Will told the Fox News audience that humans have nothing to do with climate change — it’s just natural fluctuations.  Will himself has changed his brand of conservatism in the past few years, as the New Republic has noted.  At this point, he has sampled two of the three …


Tonight’s State of the Union (Plus “2013 SOTU Climate Change Bingo”)

Environmental policy wonks around the country:  it’s time to order your vegan hot wings, purchase some organic beers, and don the uniform of your favorite political party (red or blue tie, of course)!  Tonight is the (second) biggest television event of February: President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union.  Obama is set to score major …


The Death of Climate Legislation Revisited

Why did the push for climate legislation fail even though Democrats controlled Congress and the White House in 2008-2010 ? Theda Skocpol, a Harvard political scientist, addressed this issue in a controversial recent paper.. Matt Kahn and I have both blogged before about her paper (here and here). Now that I’ve had a chance to read the 150-page article more …


The Political Path to Federal Climate Legislation

For climate legislation to pass, U.S. politics will have to become more like California.


Does the Electoral College Cause Lousy Climate Change Politics?

Dan and I have lamented the failure of the current national “debate” (if it be called that) to raise the issue of climate change, the greatest environmental threat that humanity has ever faced.  But why is that?  One can assign the blame to many institutions, and I have, but one might have been overlooked: the …


Climate Change Politics: Calling Junior Appropriators!

“Whiskey is for drinking.  Water is for fighting over.” At least that’s the old saying (incorrectly attributed to Twain), and it is true.  You can’t study water law for more than a moment without seeing conflict.  In the west, water law is particularly conflictual due to the system of prior appropriation: rivers are divided into …


Education and Views About Climate Change

A political science blog called the Monkey Cage (the name is a reference to an irreverent remark by H.L. Mencken) has an interesting post about education and views about climate change.  As you would expect, education is positively correlated with a better understanding of the science — but only for liberals.  Educated conservatives are no …


Whose Nature? God, the GOP, and Everyone Else

Some Americans say they don’t believe in climate change because they believe in God – or, more exactly, because of what they believe about God.  A few weeks ago, the New York Times quoted some Indiana Tea Party activists who explained that, because the world was created for human use and benefit, using its mineral …