Issuing imprudent and hyperbolic rhetoric about climate is not solely a British disease, of course. Consider the warning issued by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in the New York Times recently. He called global warming an “existential threat to humankind.” Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. But if the Secretary General wishes to sound alarms with Americans, he may be doing so unwittingly with another line from his op-ed: “A deal must include an equitable global governance structure.” In a country whose existence is rooted in its struggle for independence, many Americans will be put off by such a claim.
Unfortunately for those who would like to see climate change regulation enacted, there are numerous other statements from allies that would turn off a public paying greater attention to the issue. Noted climate scientist Ken Caldeira, for instance, recently declared, “I believe that we should be outlawing the production of devices that emit carbon dioxide.” Think about that next time you drive your car.
In his books and columns, the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman pines for the authority held by China’s communist autocrats. He wishes enlightened leaders could simply impose global warming solutions on the American economy rather than having to approve them democratically. Meanwhile a popular book by environmentalists Robert and Brenda Vale, entitled Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, argues that owning pets is even worse for the planet than an SUV.
While certainly tongue-in-cheek compared to Friedman’s paean to enlightened dictatorship or Lord Stern’s screed against meat, Time to Eat the Dog shares their same worry, i.e., that people in their daily lives are the planet’s gravest threat, and must be stopped.
Give them credit for candor. But don’t expect the larger public to sympathize with those beliefs. That’s why team Obama wants to ram cap-and-trade through quickly, obscured by the smokescreen of the healthcare debate. The president understands that an informed national discussion on global warming will expose the radical statements of global warming regulation’s most prominent proponents, which is not conducive to getting the bill he wants. That’s democracy for you.