Climate Will Be a Big Club for Dems in Election Year

March 1, 2016

It’s Super Tuesday. We may see climate denier Donald Trump become the unstoppable nominee of the Republican Party – which at least, is truth in advertising – but a nightmare for anyone that cares about the future of this country, this planet, or their children.


Above, Democratic ad shows a theme we can expect to see more of as Republicans continue their lockstep denial of science in the face of increasing climate impacts. The water rising around Floridian’s ankles comes to mind – to mention just one electorally important state.

As the election year unfolds, it appears there is a good chance that 2016 will be at least as warm, globally, as the last two record breaking years – and arctic sea ice is in danger of breaking new low records as well.

Republicans have made themselves defenseless on this issue, and we can expect that whoever the Democrats nominate for Pres, as well as candidates up and down the ticket, will beat the living hell out of the GOP for ignoring the biggest issue of the millennium.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times:

But here’s the thing: the next president won’t need to pass comprehensive legislation, or indeed any legislation, to take a big step toward saving the planet. Dramatic progress in energy technology has put us in a position where executive action — action that relies on existing law — can achieve great things. All we need is an executive willing to take that action, and a Supreme Court that won’t stand in its way.

And this year’s election will determine whether those conditions hold.

Many people, including some who should know better, still seem oddly oblivious to the ongoing revolution in renewable energy. Recently Bill Gates declared, as he has a number of times over the past few years, that we need an “energy miracle” — some kind of amazing technological breakthrough — to contain climate change. But we’ve already had that miracle: the cost of electricity generated by wind and sun has dropped dramatically, while costs of storage, crucial to making renewables fully competitive with conventional energy, are plunging as we speak.

The result is that we’re only a few years from a world in which carbon-neutral sources of energy could replace much of our consumption of fossil fuels at quite modest cost. True, Republicans still robotically repeat that any attempt to limit emissions would “destroy the economy.” But at this point such assertions are absurd. As both a technical matter and an economic one, drastic reductions in emissions would, in fact, be quite easy to achieve. All it would take to push us across the line would be moderately pro-environment policies.

As a card-carrying economist, I am obliged to say that it would be best if these policies took the form of a comprehensive system like cap and trade or carbon taxes, which would provide incentives to reduce emissions all across the economy. But something like the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would use flexible regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on major emitters, should be enough to get us a long way toward the goal.

And as I said, no new legislation would be needed, just a president willing to act and a Supreme Court that won’t stand in that president’s way, sacrificing the planet in the name of conservative ideology. What’s more, the Paris agreement from last year means that if the U.S. moves forward on climate action, much of the world will follow our lead.


4 Responses to “Climate Will Be a Big Club for Dems in Election Year”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    A terrific ad—-one of the best I’ve ever seen—-and it will certainly be used to “beat the living hell” out of the GOP. Unfortunately, for all too many voters, climate change is NOT the “biggest issue of the millennium”—-they are still busily searching for that “big issue” by shoving their heads up their anal orifices.

    Climate change got mentioned little in the Democratic debates and hardly at all in the ignorant and moronic pig-wallows that the Repugnants called their “debates”. Let’s hope it becomes a bigger issue once the last A-hole standing among the Repugnants begins running for the presidency rather than catering to the ignorant. The impacts of things like the likely record decline of Arctic ice in 2016, more record warm temperatures globally, nasty “cold blobs” in the N Atlantic, tornado swarms in February in the south, etc., may help to get everyone’s attention before November. (Not to wish ill on anyone, but an “October Surprise” from Mother Nature would be welcome in that regard).

    • bbenfulton Says:

      Certainly the biggest issue of the moment, for many people, is cobbling together enough money to live on.

      • A financial crisis of major proportions is still likely. It’s just a matter of when rather than if. This will make 2008 and its financial debacle look like a picnic. Nothing like a financial crisis to blow out conservative politicians– there’s no such thing as a conservative when the economy looks like it’s heading over a cliff.

        The last time conservatives ignored a collapse of the banking system was the 1930s, and the Republicans that had controlled the White House and Congress for decades were quickly given their marching papers. The Bush Administration had learned their lessons well. They gave us the bank bailout (not Obama) in 2008.

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