Wither the crisis?

Jonathan Adler remarks on how the environmental movement is hurting its cause, at least if stopping global warming is really its cause:

If everything calls for the same big government solution, why does it matter what the problem is?  If progressives really believe climate change is an impending catastrophe — not just a problem worth addressing but a potential apocalypse — and seek to enlist conservatives to their cause, they should pursue consensus efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including efforts to stimulate technological innovation or proposals for revenue-neutral carbon taxes (see, e.g., herehere and here).  Yet Hendricks’colleagues at CAP excoriate any and all who deviate from the progressive climate orthodoxy or espouse anything short of dramatic government intervention throughout the economy.  Environmentalists will be more successful enlisting conservatives (and many moderates) to their cause once they become more focused on solutions, and less insistent on government control.

I’ve thought much the same thing myself. The politicians and activists who tell us global warming is a crisis don’t act like it’s a crisis. If they really saw a crisis, they would be willing to make compromises to achieve action. We don’t see anything of the kind.

They don’t offer concessions in other areas, like supporting a pro-growth agenda, in order to obtain limits on greenhouse gases. They don’t accept a revenue-neutral carbon tax in place of the hugely unpopular cap and trade scheme. They oppose geoengineering research. They won’t abandon their irrational opposition to nuclear power. In fact, they won’t even compromise their ocean views to build wind farms.

In short, the environmentalist politicians and activists seem interested in fighting global warming only to the extent that doing so furthers government control over people’s lives. When the crisis becomes severe enough that they act like it’s a crisis, I’ll sit up and take notice.

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