Emily Pierce has a story in Roll Call that illustrates the dilemma facing those who advocate greenhouse gas reductions.
Action on climate change has become politically toxic, while action on energy legislation has not:
Dorgan was upset that the so-far failed efforts of Kerry and Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to craft a bipartisan global warming bill were needlessly delaying action on a separate, bipartisan measure that includes many “green energy” initiatives that Kerry and Boxer want to attach to a climate bill. Bingaman, who wants to move on climate change, was more concerned that a failure to do a broader global warming bill would prevent the Senate from passing the targeted energy bill separately. The committee approved that narrower measure last year.
This hits at the core issue Ted Nordhaus was talking about in an interview I did last week, which ran in this morning’s newspaper (sub/ad req):
The notion that governments will voluntarily jack up energy prices today to benefit future generations seems like a nonstarter to Nordhaus. The fact that the public, faced with government imposition of rising energy costs, will suddenly find reasons to question the underlying science of climate change is exactly what the 44-year-old pollster and political activist says we should expect.
We have found the same things.
So, for our engines, we talk about energy efficiency and about electricity from renewables at rates that are below current prices.
Climate change does not come into the conversation unless the other person brings it up.
The effect of our engines on reduction of GHGs and on diminution of climate change are expected to be large, but people, especially customers, do not want to have that conversation. So we don’t have it.