History Of A Climate Con

  • Date: 13/04/16
  • Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

Al Gore had a revelation: Energy taxes would be a loser for Obama

How’s this for an irony? As state attorneys general gin up a fake securities-fraud case against oil companies over climate change, starting with Exxon Mobil Corp., the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a real securities-fraud investigation of the nation’s biggest solar power company.

SunEdison ’s sin: allegedly exaggerating its amount of cash on hand to resist an impending bankruptcy.

A little history is in order to appreciate the cynical nadir of climate politics in the U.S. You wouldn’t know it from media coverage, but the closest the U.S. Congress came to passing a serious (if still ineffectual) cap-and-trade program was during the George W. Bush administration in early 2007. Then, within days of Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Al Gore announced a revelation: the “climate crisis” no longer required such unpleasant, de facto energy taxes. The problem could be solved with painless handouts to green entrepreneurs.

Hooray! Everybody loves a handout. The activist duo Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus noted that the shift in Mr. Gore’s thinking was “highly significant.” “He knows that cap-and-trade, and most any new regulation, would raise energy prices—a political nonstarter during a recession.”

A proposed oil tax swiftly disappeared from the Obama transition website. With control of all three branches of government in hand, the imminent climate threat to humanity suddenly appeared not so urgent after all—passing a “signature” health-care law did.

Democrats, it turned out, were in favor of climate root canal only when Republicans were in charge.

OK, this is old hat, but what should be striking is how thoroughly the climate lobby has played along. Its main function today has become stringing up apostates as a distraction from Democratic unwillingness to propose policies costly enough that they would actually influence the rate of increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

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