Paul Krugman praises the cap-and-trade bill just passed in the House of Representatives as "a remarkable achievement" and convicts anyone (but especially the 212 nay voters) who doesn't want to get with the program (which is fat with corporate welfare, among other nauseating details) guilty of planetary treason:
And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason—treason against the planet....
Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an "existential threat" to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole—but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.
Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it's in their political interest to pretend that there's nothing to worry about. If that's not betrayal, I don't know what is.
To its credit, on the same page, the Times ran a really interesting piece by environmental writer Gregg Easterbrook about how super-pure green thinking and classic governmental screwups are holding up implementation of proven technologies that could reduce carbon emissions from coal-generated electricity by two-thirds. Rather than go ahead with "'integrated gasification combined cycle' power," pols and others are pushing a phoney-baloney and sure-to-be-useless boondoggle called FutureGen:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he opposes integrated gasification plants—only new solar, wind and geothermal facilities should be allowed. Environmentalists who correctly point out there can never be absolutely "clean coal" thus end up in the position of opposing coal that's far cleaner than what we are using.
Yet coal use is a future certainty. Half of our power comes from coal, versus about 2 percent from solar and wind: in the next few decades, green power simply cannot grow quickly enough to eliminate the need for coal. We have two choices: do nothing and wait for FutureGen while coal-caused carbon emissions continue unabated; or start building improved coal-fired plants that reduce the problem. Which seems more forward-thinking?
The Easterbrook piece is well worth reading.
I wonder if Krugman judges Easterbrook guilty of planetary treason?