Their strident opposition to the Kerry-Lieberman bill, however, is a gift to Inhofe that will keep on giving.
The bill, they say, is a dog (other groups say it's a good start). It's a gift bag for fossil fuels, gives the store away to the utilities, hands out unreliable offsets like candy, and doesn't do enough for poor countries likely to feel the brunt of climate change.
Send it back, they say, and demand that the wayward lawmakers write a stronger bill.
Well, OK. In the idealized world inhabited by dreamy activists and academic economists, legislation putting a price on carbon pollution would be a relatively simple undertaking. Tax it at the refinery or mine mouth, collect the revenue, hand it out to the taxpayers, and watch the energy playing field level out, giving the low-carbon resources a fighting chance to compete against fossil fuels no longer able to use the atmosphere as a free garbage can.
Sign me up. But first, show me a strategy for obtaining 60 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House that goes beyond finger-wagging. Show me the names and the arguments that will win the day. And convince me that waiting until 2011 or 2012, when Congress is likely to have more talk radio camp followers who ascribe climate change to sunspots or to Al Gore's vivid imagination, will yield a more favorable political environment than passing Kerry-Lieberman into law this year.
Because if you don't have a realistic political strategy for passing a tougher bill that meets your specifications, if you trash the only vehicle that has a fighting chance of putting a price on carbon this year, if you make it impossible to pass anything before the fall election campaign, you will have made Jim Inhofe's day. You will have enabled the flat-earthers whose strategy of denial and delay, if successful, would dramatically jack up the costs of remediating carbon pollution, allow China to win the race to build the clean energy industries of the 21st century, and perpetuate the oil dependence that bankrolls the worst regimes on the planet.
If you have that realistic strategy, great. As the Beatles sang in Revolution, if "you say you got a real solution, well you know, we'd all love to see the plan."
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