Centrist Climate Bill Deserves Defeat


Today in Roll Call, I'm reading a funny little exchange about the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act which subsidizes businesses and sort of imposes an economy-wide cap on carbon emissions.  The bill is strongly backed by Barbara Boxer and most of the major green groups, with the prominent exception of Friends of the Earth (and a weaker opposition from LCV and the Sierra Club).
"We are about to take up the most important fight of our generation, and we have no strategy, no message and no plan to get out of this," one senior Senate Democratic aide said....

"Boxer is walking us off a cliff," another senior Senate Democratic aide said.
The only group to do paid media against this bill was the Friends of the Earth, who realized early on (as did most liberal bloggers discussing this issue) that the politics didn't make sense.  You can't cut the baby in half with regards to climate.  Either you tax carbon in some form and use it to build a socially just society, or you tax it and give the money to business elites, leveling the rest of the middle class in the process.  The result of the latter scenario is 'nuclear feudalism', with a superrich class and the rest of us steeped in poverty.


Lieberman-Warner was the bill that taxed carbon (through a confusing cap and trade mechanism) and gave the money to businesses.  Business elites realized a few years ago that funding the deniers was only useful as a wedge to solicit subsidies around carbon.  In other words, they were saying something along the lines of "Don't side with the crazy environmentalists, don't side with the crazy deniers, side with moderate pro-business reasonable people who agree that climate change is a problem but don't want to cost the economy money."  If that sounds like the immigration or Energy bill or war funding fiascos, you wouldn't be far off, as the architecture of those conversations is the same as the architecture of this one.

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