Anti-Intellectualism Main Obstacle to Climate Policy

Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:11am

Paul Krugman questions why, when it comes to global warming, it’s so hard to take action.  

“I’ve been looking into that issue and have come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that it’s not mainly about the vested interests … The monetary stakes aren’t nearly as big as you might think. What makes rational action on climate so hard is something else — a toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism.

“Consider, in particular, the much-hyped ‘war on coal.’ … What’s rarely pointed out is how few such jobs still exist … Coal employment has fallen by two-thirds, not because output is down — it’s up, substantially — but because most coal now comes from strip mines that require very few workers.”

“At this point, coal mining accounts for only one-sixteenth of 1 percent of overall U.S. employment.”

“Or put it this way: The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost.”

“So why is the opposition to climate policy so intense?… It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.”