Jonah Goldberg

The government cannot have my dog.

Don't tell that to the authors of the new book "Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living." They calculate that dog owning is much worse than SUV driving for the planet. So when you see a car heading to the dog park with some happy labs drooling out the window, you should think "climate criminals."

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Meanwhile, in less surprising news, cats (long known as the handmaidens of Satan) have roughly the ecological paw print of a Volkswagen Golf.

Authors Robert and Brenda Vale don't actually suggest you eat your dog. But they do say we'd be better off if we weaned ourselves from pets that treat Gaia like a fire hydrant. Better to play fetch with our pet chickens and then eat them.

The book has gotten lots of press because dogs and cats sell newspapers. What interests me is how environmental activists live in a fantasyland.

The push in Congress for a huge new carbon tax is a dangerous farce. Yes, CO2 levels and global temperatures have risen since the Industrial Revolution, and that's something to take seriously. But the political reality is that truly meaningful global restrictions on CO2 emissions in the near future simply will not happen, and pretending otherwise is a waste of time, money and political capital.

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing that belief in, and concern for, climate change is evaporating. Belief in global warming has dropped from 71 percent in April to 57 percent; only 36 percent believe man is mostly responsible for climate change. Only 35 percent of respondents said it's a "very serious problem," down from 41 percent.

This is after more than a decade of near-relentless fearmongering -- er, sorry, "education" -- from Al Gore, academia and Hollywood. They can't persuade the American people to spend trillions for less than a degree Celsius of cooling a century from now.

No doubt the fact that neither climate models nor doomsday predictions have panned out (there has been no increase in global temperatures since 1998) is a big part of the story.

But my hunch is that the bigger reason for the shift is that Democrats are threatening to really do something about it, and the costs no longer seem hypothetical. Throw in a bad economy, and Americans simply balk. And that's Americans -- the notion that China, India and Brazil are going to don carbon handcuffs is just silly. Those countries want to get rich, and they'll gladly sell their carbon to do it.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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