Posted by: ericgrimsrud | April 14, 2016

Hillary’s approach no good for addressing climate change

Hillary Clinton appears to have the inside track not only on the Democratic nomination but also on the Presidency largely because of her skill in applying her “method” to potential voters. By my use of that term, I am referring to her ability to seek what appear to be “win-win” outcomes for both sides of an issue.  Thus, she is not automatically dismissed by either side and becomes preferable to those candidates with more extreme views and insist on doing things the “one correct way”.  Thus, while supporting some legislation concerning climate change, she is also in support of programs favorable to the fossil fuel industries. Her strong support of fracking techniques discussed in my previous post is just one example.  Another is her hesitancy in promoting a stiff and annually increasing carbon tax.

In return for these moderate views on the subject of climate change, Hillary’s political career and Clinton Foundation have been generously rewarded with enormous contributions from the corporate sector of America, including Wall Street and the fossil fuel industries. Even Warren Buffet, owner of the BNSF railroads with strong ties to the coal industry, is one of her strongest supporters.  Given the overwhelming evidence emerging every day about the enormous problems being caused by global warming, I am guessing that another Clinton Presidency is the best many of these large and powerful corporations can do in order to stay in the fossil fuel business. So yes, Hillary’s record in arranging “win-win” outcomes on complex issues is the reason why she might win the Democratic nomination instead of Bernie Sanders.

But wait a minute. There is something very wrong with this picture.  What’s wrong is that on the specific issue of addressing climate change, a successful outcome cannot be one that is win-win.  A successful outcome requires that one side must lose big time. It requires that CO2 emissions be decreased to near zero in the next few decades because we have kicked that can down the road for too many past decades.  It requires that Hillary’s  “all of the above” attitude concerning methods of energy production be changed to “only the alternates”.  In the fight ahead, Hillary will be up against a much tougher Mama than she – Mother Nature, that is, who only does things one way – Her way – and Hillary will go down with all of the rest of us if she thinks her “win-win” methods will work in this case.

Everyone in the energy business knows what I have just said – including those tied to fossil fuels. Again their only hope of avoiding imminent financial setbacks and of staying in business for as long as possible is to find political representatives who will favor “all of the above” energy policies that provide their industries with as soft a landing as possible in the new world of greenhouse-gas-free energy production that we are all too slowly moving towards. And that representative has to be sufficiently well-regarded by the progressive and environmental communities of the USA as to enable her win-win proposals to sound viable to them.  Thus, Hillary is clearly “their man” on this issue and this fact will help her wrestle the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders.

What’s terribly wrong with this picture is that Bernie Sanders is the only one who recognizes that there must be a clear loser in our present fight over energy policy and we don’t have sufficient time left to gradually get it right. While Hillary would have been a strong candidate 10 or 20 years ago, she no longer is.  Only Bernie Sanders “gets it”.  During their amazing political careers, both of the Clintons have been masters at pandering to the public – that’s how Bill won his first Democratic nomination in 1992.  We can only hope that in Grandma Hillary’s twilight years, she comes to see that we no longer have any more time for pandering and delay on the issue of climate change.  We must try as hard as we can to kill the beast that is consuming us.

Thus, if Bernie could win the Presidency, we could look forward to going to work immediately and very forcefully on the problem of climate change. With Hillary as the more likely winner, we can still cross our fingers.  And heaven forbid, if any of the candidates from the other side of the aisle wins the Presidency, we would simply kick that can all the way down to our grandchildren with the enclosed message – Sorry kids, but we were just too busy having a “nice day”.

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