Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is Climate Change Legislation Next?

In the immediate wake of Obama and the Democrat's impressive passage of health care reform, some people are asking if he/they can now do the same with climate change legislation, whether cap-n-trade or something else.

I don't know, of course. But I doubt it.

It just doesn't seem that the time is right. Obama pushed many Democrats to get health care reform passed, and they are probably now worried about their reelection prospects this November. They made a sacrifice for him, and two such sacrifices in a year is probably too much to ask. (And certainly too much if the Democrats don't retain Congressional majorities in the fall.)

But more, sadly, perhaps even tragically, the public isn't ready for it either. Despite Chris Mooney's prediction that global warming was to have been a major campaign issue since, what, 2000, it never is. In fact, it now polls dead last, even among environmental issues.

If American's aren't concerned that some of their fellow citizens must line up in fields to get health care dispensed under tents, something you'd expect to see in the third world, they are hardly going to get too exercised about the fate of the seventh generation -- or even their grandchildren. (I mean, look at the debt they've saddled them with.) If a Texan representative won't support health care reform when, literally, 1/4th of his constituents have no health insurance -- well, these are clearly heartless, selfish motherfuckers in a vastly different galaxy than the rest of us.

Too many Americans are now being lead around the nose by these types, made fearful and selfish and mean-spirited. The future of the human race hardly concerns them -- what they really want is better cell phone reception and ever more cheap shit from China.

Even France today announced they are giving up on a carbon tax.

The time isn't right -- perhaps some reaction to the manufactured "Climategate scandal" -- but it might be coming. The last few months have been quite warm, and there really isn't a strong El Nino right now. Skeptics have already backed down from their "global cooling" claims they were making everywhere a year ago -- it's just not talk you hear anymore. A big heat wave or two and people might be thinking very differently in a year.

Anyway, we (the US) or the world lacks anything like the stones to really tackle this problem on a realistic level -- which means a totally carbon-free world. I doubt that will ever happen, and if it does it will be far, far too late -- as are most stop-gap measures humans try to put in placem long after the damage has been done.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Judging from the increase in ads from API, yes, ACES is on the horizon.

Best,

D

rhhardin said...

If you ever get tired of science, there's economics to learn about.

The information in price signals being fairly interesting.

There's signs of it in what happens when you interfere with price signals, say in housing, or in medical treatment.

The glorious fields of marvels today are unregulated, which might seem like a strange coincidence.

Maybe someday it will seem less strange.

Dano said...

I notice that classical economists' assumptions usu are marginally real on the ground. Like the above comment. Classical economics has a marginal predictive value.

Best,

D

rhhardin said...

When Mike Munger is the guest, the econtalk podcasts are pretty engaging.

Start with the one on price gouging.

Then the one of fair trade coffee.

They are genuinely entertaining, and might pique your interest.

The challenge is to find a way to express relationships to their unintuitive consequences that might engage the public, something much in need today.