Maybe it’s me, but the predictable right-wing cries of outrage over the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules on carbon seem oddly muted and unfocused. I mean, these are the people who managed to create national outrage over nonexistent death panels. Now the Obama administration is doing something that really will impose at least some pain on some people. Where are the eye-catching fake horror stories?
For what it’s worth, however, the attacks on the new rules mainly involve the three C’s: conspiracy, cost and China. That is, right-wingers claim that there isn’t any global warming, that it’s all a hoax promulgated by thousands of scientists around the world; that taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions would devastate the economy; and that, anyway, U.S. policy can’t accomplish anything because China will just go on spewing stuff into the atmosphere.
I don’t want to say much about the conspiracy theorizing, except to point out that any attempt to make sense of current American politics must take into account this particular indicator of the Republican Party’s descent into madness. There is, however, a lot to say about both the cost and China issues.
I’m all for protecting the environment, whether it is the particles that are sent up into the air we breathe, the methane emissions into our air from the waste of millions of animals, the coal sludge stuff that careless companies allow to seep into our waters or chemicals that are released in various ways near population centers.
Does the environment merit yet another op-ed, Professor? In normal times, I would enthusiastically say yes! Today, however, is far from normal and while the air we breathe is still important in the here and now and the future, what comes first for me is making sure that there is a safety net and work for those millions among us who can’t meet their most basic obligations.
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Curated from www.nytimes.com