Year 3, Month 8, Day 18: Expletive Un-Deleted Edition

Fred Krupp, in the Wall Street Journal, says “It’s time for conservatives to compete with liberals to devise the best, most cost-effective climate solutions.” Uh-fucking-huh:

One scorching summer doesn’t confirm that climate change is real any more than a white Christmas proves it’s a hoax. What matters is the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather. But with more than 26,000 heat records broken in the last 12 months and pervasive drought turning nearly half of all U.S. counties into federal disaster areas, many data-driven climate skeptics are reassessing the issue.

Respected Republican leaders like Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey have spoken out about the reality of climate change. Rupert Murdoch’s recent tweet—”Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease.”—may reflect an emerging conservative view. Even Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, during public comments in June, conceded the reality of climate change while offering assurances that “there will be an engineering solution” and “we’ll adapt.”

Even if my outlook differs, these views may turn out to be a welcome turning point. For too long, the U.S. has had two camps talking past each other on this issue. One camp tended to preach and derided questions about climate science as evidence of bad motivation. The other camp claimed that climate science was an academic scam designed to get more funding, and that advocates for action were out to strangle economic growth. Charges of bad faith on both sides—and a heavy dose of partisan politics—saw to it that constructive conversation rarely occurred.

If both sides can now begin to agree on some basic propositions, maybe we can restart the discussion. Here are two:

The first will be uncomfortable for skeptics, but it is unfortunately true: Dramatic alterations to the climate are here and likely to get worse—with profound damage to the economy—unless sustained action is taken. As the Economist recently editorialized about the melting Arctic: “It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.”

The second proposition will be uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth. As much as environmentalists feel a justifiable urgency to solve this problem, we cannot ignore the economic impact of any proposed action, especially on those at the bottom of the pyramid. For any policy to succeed, it must work with the market, not against it.

If enough members of the two warring climate camps can acknowledge these basic truths, we can get on with the hard work of forging a bipartisan, multi-stakeholder plan of action to safeguard the natural systems on which our economic future depends.

There’s just one fucking problem with this fucking Peter Pan everybody-fucking-clap-louder stuff… Sent August 7:

It’s certainly gratifying to see that some self-described conservatives are finally coming around to accepting the scientific consensus on climate change. And it’s certainly true that those on both sides of the ideological spectrum are going to have to work together to develop solutions and approaches that will protect and nurture the health of the American and planetary economy.

However, it needs to be said: by denying the findings of climate science, by mocking and threatening climatologists, and by stubbornly adhering to a position that is (to put it mildly) catastrophically wrong, conservatives have forfeited their credibility on the issue.

In business terms: a management team that rejects the facts, misunderstands the measurements, and insults everyone else in the organization (and is eventually shown beyond any doubt to have been wrong all along) should not be given an equal voice in determining the company’s future. It’s just plain common sense.

Warren Senders

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