Climate policy is worse than you think

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Climate policy is worse than you think

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People cool off on a hot afternoon in Flushing Meadows Park in New York in 2019. Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP.

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Texas is usually hot, but not like this:

Current forecasts predict that the temperature in Dallas will hit 42.7 degrees on Tuesday, with highs until next week.

Great Britainon the other hand, it had a well-deserved reputation as a cool and rainy island.

Millions of people in Britain woke up Tuesday on the hottest night in the country and braced for a day when temperatures could break records.  (Photo AP / Frank Augstein.

Millions of people in Britain woke up Tuesday on the hottest night in the country and braced for a day when temperatures could break records. (Photo AP / Frank Augstein.

But as I write this, the temperature in London is expected to hit 38.8 degrees on Tuesday.

One has to be voluntarily blind – unfortunately, a fairly common complaint among politicians – not to see that global warming is no longer a questionable threat which will reach us in a few years.

It’s our current reality, and if climate scientists, whose warnings have been widely confirmed, are right, it will get much worse.

And only Joe Manchin log out what could have been the Biden administration’s last chance to do anything, anything, significant about climate change. (N to R: Democratic Senator torpedoed President Biden’s climate package)

I don’t want to talk much about Manchin.

In a few months it will probably be irrelevant, one way or another:

Republicans are more likely to take the Senate or Democrats, aided by the horror of many Republican candidates, get seats.

And it wouldn’t have mattered in the first place if it weren’t for the disease that has infected the US body politic.

However, for what it’s worth, my opinion of Manchin is always more cynical than one usually hears.

Yes, it represents a state that still considers itself a carboniferous country, even though mining is now a mundane part of its economy, dwarfed by health care and welfare jobs, with much of the latter paid for by the federal government. .

Yes, take more political contributions of the energy industry than any other congressman.

Yes, it has a great one financial conflict of interest that arises from owned by his family of a coal company.

However, my guess is that her “Lucy with the ball” act has as much to do with vanity as it does with money. And nothing to do with inflation. (N of A: Cartoon gag where Lucy tells Charlie Brown she will hold a soccer ball while he runs and kicks it. But Lucy removes the ball and Charlie Brown flies through the air, before falling onto his back and hurting himself..)

His act, after all, kept him in the political spotlight month after month.

And if you don’t believe that great events can be shaped, great disasters caused, for pure personal meannessall i can say is you probably haven’t read much history.

But none of this would have mattered had the Republicans not united in their opposition to any action to limit global warming.

This opposition has only become more entrenched as evidence of impending catastrophe and the likely financial cost of effective action has decreased.

Let’s talk about the political economy of climate policy.

It has long been painfully obvious that voters are reluctant to even accept small costs short-term to avoid a long-term disaster.

This is depressing, but it is a fact, which doesn’t seem set to change no matter how much you argue.

That is why I have long been skeptical of the widely held position among economists that a carbon tax (putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions) must be the central pillar of climate policy.

It is true that emissions taxes are Econ 101’s solution to pollution, but in reality they will not happen in the United States.

The good news is that spectacular technological progress in renewable energy can provide a basis for a political strategy. alternativebased on carrots instead of sticks.

The idea behind the Build Back Better plan Joe Biden, it was about relying not on taxes but on subsidies and public investment to promote a clean energy transition.

In this way, climate action could be framed not as a sacrifice but as a chancea way to create new jobs that fit into a broader program of much needed public investment.

The theory, to which I naively subscribed, was that such a strategy, although it may be less efficient than one focusing on carbon taxes, would be very easier to sell to the American people, and that there would be at least some Republican politicians willing to adhere to policies that promised concrete rewards for workers, contractors, etc., without imposing new burdens on their constituents.

But the Republicans – and, of course, Manchin – remained unmoved.

I don’t think they were motivated solely by a desire to see Biden fail.

I’m just deeply hostile to clean energy.

There is an obvious parallel between green energy policy and COVID-19 policy.

Many people were angered by the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the pandemic; even the bezel requirements come with some inconvenience.

But vaccination seemed to offer a win-win solution by allowing Americans to protect themselves and others.

Who could argue?

The answer was, much of the Republican Party.

Vaccination has become and remains an intensely partisan issue, with deadly consequences:

mortality rates since vaccines became widely available have been much higher in strongly republican areas than in democratic areas.

The fact is that one of the two main political parties in the United States appears to be viscerally opposed to any policy that appears to be in the service of the public good.

The overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of such policies does not help; if anything, it hurts, because the modern Republican Party is hostile to science and scientists.

And that hostility, rather than the personal quirks of a small state senator, is the fundamental reason why it seems we won’t do anything while the planet burns.

c.2022 The New York Times Company

Source: Clarin

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