Our Utah governor, Gary Herbert, according to some of us environmentalists, is to fossil carbon energy what Alabama Governor George Wallace was to segregation.Â It's cahbon enagy nah, cahbon enagy tamarrah, cahbon enagy fo'eva.Â He's operating, apparently, on the pre-post-tobacco industry model of how to win in business through your basic lieing, in this case about the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.Â Â I once called into a radio interview with him and asked him about climate change.Â "I believe climate change is happening," he said.Â "Always has been, and always will be."Â
Gov. Herbert has been upfront in an all-of-above-especially-if-it's-carbon energy policy.Â And so his pick for a new energy advisor should surprise no one.Â New energy advisor has big and gas background.
Steven Coll, author of "Private Empire" about Exxon Mobile, was on "Fresh Air" a couple of days ago.Â That was interesting. I was kind of surprised to find out that, while the previous CEO was your almost stereotypical "Climate change is a socialist conspiracy hoax etc etc" type, the currentÂ CEOÂ seems to haveÂ taken more of a post-tobacco model approach to carbon emissions.Â I imagine the legal department said something along the lines of "Learn from the tobacco industry.Â Yes, they were able to skew the politics in their favorÂ for a long time, butÂ that tacticÂ eventually bit them in the butt with collosal lawsuits and a public relations disaster.Â Â Since then, they'veÂ learned to not bother with that.Â And guess what?Â Today, they'reÂ making money hand over fist."Â And so now days, the actual officialÂ Exxon stance - get this -Â is not to deny climate science and to be even OK with a carbon tax (provided there's no credible risk ofÂ it ever actuallyÂ getting anywhere in any actual Congress).
Heck, if we could justÂ get our governor of UtahÂ be as enlightened as Exxon Mobile, we'd be all set.
Stereotypes are bad, as we know.Â Still, there might be a tad of a grain of truth to this stereotypical generalization about right wingers: The trouble with ourÂ right wingers is they see everything as a war.Â Â As in God fearing Constitution loving liberty preserving American patriotsÂ areÂ engaged in a must-winÂ war withÂ God hating socialist yearning EPA storm trooper embracing environmentalists.Â You don't compromise with anÂ enemy this evil.Â It's winner take all.
As I think about it, I was so raised on this war model here in Utah.Â There was this war in Heaven, see, in which Satan rebelled.Â And it's an ongoing war between Satan and God.Â And in the end it's going to be this Grand Fanale of a righteous war between Jesus and the followers of Satan.Â Beginning, middle, and end, war war war.
No. War is not a sound model.Â You want balance.Â It's not a war between greed and morality, or it shouldn't be.Â Both are essential to life.Â Greed represents the short term.Â Morality represents the long term.Â You can't have a long term without a short term.Â Without a long term view, the short termÂ puts itselfÂ out of business.Â Â The war model breeds fear.Â Â I think that's why so much fear existed during the cold war, for example.Â Each saw the other in a context ofÂ a pitched battle in whichÂ the winner would take all and the loser would lose all.Â Ok, so it wasn't just the right wingers.Â The Communists themselves explained themselves as being at war with capitalism.Â And that's where they went wrong, I think.Â They had some good points.Â But in this war model they merely substituted one imbalance for another.Â And malybe there is a tiny grain of a tad of truth to that some ofÂ us enviromentalists goÂ wrong in the same way.
You know.Â Â The enviroes of the 1970s had their flaws.Â But I think there's a case to be made that to the extentÂ their chicken little narrative was wrong was because they got listened to.Â Thing is.Â It's like house cleaning.Â You got the place to look less like a pig sty forÂ a little while and now here it is a filty pig sty again.Â There again, the war model is not a sound model.Â House cleaning is a better model.
Problem is.Â In America today, in my view, the long term is grosslyÂ under-represented and losing more ground every day. The problem, as I see it, is to re-empower the long term view, not with the idea of destroying the short term, but with the idea of preventing the short term from destroying itself.
As you can imagine, I get a lot of, oh that Ashurst,Â typical Mormon hater bad mouther.Â No.Â This religious culture here has a lot of the right stuff to restore someÂ balanceÂ in favor ofÂ the long term.Â Simply take theÂ Mormon "word of wisdom", for example, and make it a planetary word of wisdom.Â If we couldÂ just distract some ofÂ our Saints,Â such asÂ Gary Herbert, for example,Â for five minutesÂ from giving 110% to the cause of greed, we'd be all set.