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Conservatives Look for Ways Not to Save the Planet

Jonathan Chait : “When the Obama administration launched its health-care reform project five years ago, conservatives were held back by the sheer lack of interest in the issue they had accumulated over the decades. Conservative intellectuals had paid hardly any detailed attention to the specific problems of health-care economics and found themselves grasping for generalized right-wing bromides. (They have played vigorous catch-up in the years since.)”  

“The same rough dynamic can be seen now as Obama launches a major climate change initiative. Conservatives are grasping for ideological truisms to fill a void of any detailed policy-level engagement. A case in point is the conservative belief that carbon reduction is pointless because China will never go along.”  

“The striking thing about this reasoning is not so much that the conclusion is certainly wrong, but that it does not even recognize the counters of the debate. It’s true that the U.S. accounts for only around 15 percent of global carbon emissions, and Obama’s proposed reductions would have a modest impact on rising temperatures. But nobody thinks limiting U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will solve climate change in and of itself. The entire purpose of doing so is to enable an international treaty.”

Topics: wonk-wire