An observation of the Republican Convention of 2012 by the amazing Charlie:
Where was the environment? You know? Where we live?
The irony from my perspective is that Republicans have a positive track record to draw upon with respect to the environment, which, apparantly, they've opted to collectively pretend never existed. Richard Nixon gave us the EPA. George H W Bush gave us cap and trade for SO2, which genuinely could be touted as a success story for a market based approach to environmental quality. Republicans actually do have a leg to stand on were they to claim they have a good track record on matters environment.
Republicans could have been saying, "Cap and trade, now there is how we sensible Republicans acheive environmental qualilty without killing business. We employ a market based solution. We don't try to micro-manage your business; no, we set a broad standard that represents a legitimate public value, environmental quality, we employ market signals to reflect this value, and then we get out of the way of the people who know their businesses better than anyone else how best to get there. And look here. I have charts. Charts, I'm telling you. Look at this here chart. See the trend line for SO2 after we employed SO2 cap and trade? Economy thriving - SO2 declining. People prosperous - people healthy. Who says we have to choose between the two? When it comes to matters environment, we Republicans get it, and we get it better than the other brand."
One criticism of SO2 cap and trade is that it has allowed for some regions, somehow often seeming to coincide with where poor people reside, to be turned into sacrifice zones. For that reason, cap and trade might actually be better suited to limiting CO2 than for SO2, because CO2 is more of a global problem than a regional one.
Exxon Mobile, back when the climate scare almost seemed about to be taken seriously, opposed carbon cap and trade in favor of a carbon tax. Maybe that was only a stalling tactic. Had a carbon tax been about to happen, they might have argued in favor of cap and trade. Or maybe a carbon tax would work better from the standpoint of Exxon Mobile; I don't know. In any case, I get the feeling Exxon Mobil could cope with a carbon tax, especially one that is phased in slowly in a stable predictable way as opposed to it being a political football.
Here's one really nice thing about capitalism: It actually thrives on solving problems.
Apparantly, however, Republicans these days seem to have gotten this notion that facing up to a serious life threatening environmental problem can only come at the cost of killing the whole economy. Republicans would do well to study their own history, as well as reviewing their Party line on morality too, for some proven ways of how to preserve the economy without having to kill the future for it.
Whether carbon tax or carbon cap and trade, the goal post for me is some sort of market signal that acknowledges the value of a people-friendly atmosphere. Why on earth Republicans opt to stall and obfuscate and deny deny deny on this instead of providing some actual much needed sensible leadership totally escapes me.