Here’s a question for you, what has saved more lives: condoms or new AIDS drugs? That’s a rhetorical question unless you are a complete idiot. As the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure. But I think the weights are off. It ought to be more like, “A gram of prevention is worth a metric ton of cure.” And so it is with global warming. This morning, Jonathan Chait wrote, Best New Republican Climate Ideas Still Pretty Bad.
The article is about how various conservative writers are pushing the idea that we don’t need to do anything to stop or slow carbon emissions. Technology will save us! What I find most amusing about this is that this is not a new idea. Conservatives always say that technology will save us. We never have to do anything because technology will save us. But then a hundred people die in one night in London because of the air pollution, and the people decide that maybe they can’t wait for the miracle cure that technology will bring some day.
This idea is even stupider in its current incarnation. These reformicons want the government to invest money into creating the technology. But as Chait pointed out, the government already has such a program. It’s called: the Advanced Research Projects—Energy. It was created back in 2009 as part of the stimulus, and since that time, Republicans in Congress have been trying to kill it.
But are you ready for the even stupider than even stupider? One of the big ideas behind taxing carbon was that it would spur on technological innovation in green energy. That’s why “cap and trade” used to be the favored policy response to global warming. Remember just six years ago when John McCain was running for president? He was in favor of this plan. Of course, he was also in favor of the free market approach to healthcare reform we now call Obamacare. But no more! As soon as a Democrat accepts a Republican policy, it because, “Socialism! Socialism I tell you!”
Liberals are not against technological solutions to global warming. But the truth is that conservatives are. All the reformicons are doing is what conservatives always do about everything: they delay. This is just another delaying tactic. But this time it comes with the hilarious addition that the government is already doing what they claim we absolutely must do. Meanwhile, the problem of global warming gets worse and worse with every instant we don’t reduce our carbon emissions.