Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Like a Kid Trying to Get Out of Eating His Broccoli

That's the image I get when I see the various GOP presidential contenders dealing with global warming. It exists, they know it, they have to go along with doing something about it, but they so desperately want it to just go away.

But they can't, because there's a significant number of evangelicals who are starting to get a bit, well, evangelical about that whole "steward of the planet" thing. God gave it to us, and even if He's coming back, He could be well pissed about how it's being taken care of now that He has granted us the power to change it. They need those votes, and screaming about fetuses and gay marriage may not cut it anymore, Christian conservative leaders' loud protestations notwithstanding.

That's probably why they were so desperately hugging themselves up to the denialists, but let's be honest: that ship has sailed. Carping about Gore to the contrary, the argument is over. The question is just what will be done about it.

(Well, except for a few close-minded "asshats", but they're like dinosaurs that think that hiding in a cave will save them from the asteroid strike: doomed, pathetic, and easily ignored.)

The best part is Fred Thompson's climbdown. In April, clearly not realizing that the political landscape has changed, he tried to blame it on solar radiation. That, er, doesn't fly these days. (If you're real curious, go look it up over here. If you're just one of the asshats, go away.) So now he's admitting that it's real, and is trying the "more research" dodge. That won't work as well, but unless they're willing to embrace the battle against African AIDS in a vain attempt to avoid the obvious, like Lomborg, that's about all the serious conservatives are left with these days. He'll come around for the general if he gets the nod. Not that he will, but if he did...

And as for the guy that I personally think will probably win the GOP nod?

In the tangled Republican race, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney have been much more hesitant to criticize policies of President Bush, who in his two presidential campaigns said that more study of climate change was needed before imposing restrictions on heat-trapping gases.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Giuliani has said, “I do believe there’s global warming,” but in a speech on energy in the summer in Waterloo, Iowa, he had hardly a word about the environment. Instead, he focused on tapping domestic sources of energy, including coal, which is considered a major contributor to global warming.

“Ethanol, biodiesel, clean coal, nuclear power, more refineries, conservation,” Mr. Giuliani said. “There’s no one single solution. But each one of these has to be expanded 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent.

“America has more coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has oil reserves. Aren’t we safer and better off relying on our own coal reserves than on a part of the world that is a threat to us?”
So, yeah, this has nothing to do with global warming, but is Rudy turning it around into another excuse to yell "NINE-ELEVEN!!" at the top of his lungs for three hours and call it a day. Which might be another way of getting out of the global warming trap, I suppose, but it's really only a button Rudy can push.

The sad thing is that this is the one issue where former frontrunner McCain has actually showed some damned leadership. Here's the Times again:

Mr. McCain said in his speech on Saturday that he wanted to push for alternative fuels, but he implied that more needed to be done to protect the environment.

One priority, he said, would be to establish “cap and trade,” a system in which corporations are essentially rewarded for deep cuts in harmful emissions.

Mr. McCain has written a bill on that and forced two votes, losing both.

In addition to calling for improved fuel efficiency, which he repeated last week in a speech in Detroit, Mr. McCain said he supported an effort to develop an automobile battery that can travel 150 to 200 miles without a charge and would finance the research and development for that.

The senator opposes a measure that many environmentalists desire, a carbon tax, most likely as another gasoline tax. He told the warming and energy conference that he generally opposed new taxes but that he also believed that poor workers who tended to commute to work longer distances would be disproportionately affected.

Mr. McCain said it took a few months of hearings as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee after the 2000 election for him to realize the threat from climate change. Asked about Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney’s commitment to energy independence, he said voters should look at their records.

“What were they doing in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006?” Mr. McCain asked.
Hate to say it considering what a craven tool he's been lately, but good for John. Sure, he doesn't back a carbon tax, but no Republican is ever going to. You take what you can get. Were he this strong on other issues he might still be the momentum-filled quasi-insurgent that he was back in 2000. As it is, he's right back there with Tancredo.

Not the most encouraging lot, but at least they're admitting that it's real. Maybe something might even get done before people currently living on the coast have to swim to work.

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