Why has climate change lost its oomph? Plumer lays out some of the reasons, though he minimizes the damage greens have inflicted on their own credibility thanks to the 2009 Climategate email scandal and wildly overstated predictions. For instance, the United Nations predicted there would be 50 million "climate refugees" by 2010. Notably, the islands of the Caribbean would see massive population losses as denizens fled for their lives. Never happened. (Meanwhile, the UN Environment Program has removed the map of predicted devastation from its website.)
No wonder Obama constantly insists that switching to vastly more expensive and less-efficient energy sources will create jobs. No wonder he promises that if we all get on board the high-speed rail bandwagon, we'll win the future. No wonder he's trying to change the subject to as-of-yet-nonexistent gas station price gouging and allegedly outrageous subsidies for the oil industry.
Obama's claims are dubious at best. In supposedly pioneering China, high-speed rail has been a boondoggle of biblical proportions. Green jobs destroy more jobs than they create, and pay less. In Spain, Obama's favorite clean-energy innovator, one study found that 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every one that was created. Indeed, across Europe, massive investments in wind and solar simply haven't paid off.
One suspects that Obama would dearly love to drill a lot for more oil and gas, simply for the political windfall in jobs and economic growth. But after he flipped on offshore drilling, then flopped after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he cannot flip again without infuriating his base. So he brags about how much more drilling there is today, even though that's the result of policies already in the pipeline.
Obama and the greens are in an exquisite bind. Without economic recovery, Americans won't support Obama's "investments," but Obama's investments are a hindrance to recovery.