I suppose it was inevitable. When heavy snow falls inside the bubble that serves as the nation's political and media center, the career politicians who are supposedly anti-government and the bloviators serving up dumbed-down populism disguised as conservatism announce that climate change is a crock.
Out where I live, 3,000 blessed miles away from the bubble where the politicians and pundits breathe each other's exhaust, it's hard to relate, not when Seattle experienced its warmest January on record. Up the road a hundred or so miles, Vancouver is sweating bullets that winter seems to have left the premises as the world's most livable city began strutting its Winter Olympics stuff.
Of course, the East Coast's heavy snow - can someone please banish that hideous term "Snowmageddon?" - no more disproves human-caused climate change than Vancouver's balm validates it. Weather is short-term, climate is long-term, but long-term is outside the comprehension of career politicians and the modern-day versions of what Mary Todd Lincoln in her day called the vampire press.
It seems that battles over climate science will be forever with us, even though the ideologues waging the battle are spectacularly unqualified to pass definitive judgment on the complex modeling and field observations that make up the body of climate science.
In any event, the climate food fights are a sideshow. Pollster Frank Luntz is right. Energy policy ought to be framed in concrete terms that relate to workaday concerns of jobs, economic development, energy reliability, and national security.
Luntz's latest poll shows that people are most interested in how energy policy will create jobs and cut America loose from oil cartel manipulators. His numbers show that a broad spectrum of Americans would back a cap on carbon if they were convinced that it would juice up the economy and lower our dangerous dependence on rogue oil regimes.
Speaking of juicing up the economy, we can't afford to wait much longer to build up a made-in-America, clean energy sector that putting a price on carbon would help grow. Nine of the 10 largest wind energy companies are foreign. Eight of the 10 largest solar energy companies are foreign. China is producing wind turbines. China is manufacturing photovoltaic panels. China is building concentrating solar energy plants. China is erecting nuclear reactors . China is laying tracks for high-speed trains.
China is creating jobs while U.S. politicians and pundits argue over how many snow angels can dance on the head of a pin. There is no escaping the consequences of their irresponsibility, not even 3,000 miles away.
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