Photo Credit: via YouTube/Moyers & Co.
By Janet Allon / AlterNet
February 1, 2016
Paul Krugman writes in Monday’s column that no less than the fate of the planet rides on the results of this year’s election. And, while that is a pretty scary way to start a column, the rest of Krugman’s argument, which is devoted to climate economics and how they are improving, is fairly optimistic.
It is well known that last year was by far the hottest on record, although that fact has not put a dent in climate deniers helmets of denial. What is less known, according to Krugman, is that the “prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe” has changed “drastically for the better in recent years, because we’re now achingly close to achieving a renewable-energy revolution.”
Krugman is also heartened by the fact that it won’t take a political revolution to achieve an energy revolution. (Might this be a subtle dig at Bernie Sanders supporters with whom Krugman as tangled recently? Maybe.) At any rate, Krugman lays out the current state of climate economics as he sees it:
Most people who think about the issue at all probably imagine that achieving a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would necessarily involve big economic sacrifices. This view is required orthodoxy on the right, where it forms a sort of second line of defense against action, just in case denial of climate science and witch hunts against climate scientists don’t do the trick. For example, in the last Republican debateMarco Rubio — the last, best hope of the G.O.P. establishment — insisted, as he has before, that a cap-and-trade program would be “devastating for our economy.”
To find anything equivalent on the left you have to go far out of the mainstream, to activists who insist that climate change can’t be fought without overthrowing capitalism. Still, my sense is that many Democrats believe that politics as usual isn’t up to the task, that we need a political earthquake to make real action possible. In particular, I keep hearing that the Obama administration’s environmental efforts have been so far short of what’s needed as to be barely worth mentioning.