The New York Times has made a front-page push for higher taxes and stringent regulation in the name of "climate change" two days in a row (the Washington Post had the self-control to leave its own related stories off the front page).
Notorious climate activist/journalist Justin Gillis's lead story in Monday's Times warned "Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says," but found good news: There's still time to tax, spend, and regulate the problem away.
Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.
Scientists fear that exceeding that level could produce drastic effects, such as the collapse of ice sheets, a rapid rise in sea levels, difficulty growing enough food, huge die-offs of forests, and mass extinctions of plant and animal species.
Gillis admitted that "tackling the problem in a serious way would carry large costs," but the alternative could be far worse.
Against those costs, the economic benefits of acting are essentially impossible to calculate, the report found. The biggest reason is that scientists do not know how likely it is that unchecked global warming could cause some sort of wildly expensive calamity, such as a rapid melting of ice sheets that would drown the world’s major coastal cities. This and other disasters are distinctly possible, the authors found.
The Times continued the "do something drastic" drumbeat on Tuesday's front page with Coral Davenport's "Political Divide Slows U.S. Action on Climate Laws." Most to blame: Not skepticism over reordering the world economy, but Republican ties to the "fossil fuel industry," i.e. the engine of global capitalism, reflected in the story's subhead: "Tax on Carbon Resisted – Lawmakers Tied to Fuel Industries."
The United States needs to enact a major climate change law, such as a tax on carbon pollution, by the end of this decade to stave off the most catastrophic impacts of global warming, according to the authors of a report released this week by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
But aggressive efforts to tackle climate change have repeatedly collided with political reality in Washington, where some Republicans question the underlying science of global warming and lawmakers’ ties to the fossil fuel industry have made them resistant to change. The rise of the Tea Party in recent years has also made a tax increase unlikely.
This week’s report makes clear, however, that the window is rapidly narrowing to forge new policies that will protect the globe from a future of serious food and water shortages, a drastic sea level rise, increased poverty and disease and other profound risks.
Davenport portrayed the objections to throwing a massive wrench into the global economy solely as a threat to the profits of (altogether now) "the fossil fuel industry."
Lawmakers who back such efforts, which represent a threat to the bottom lines of the fossil fuel industry, particularly coal, the nation’s top source of carbon pollution, have been criticized by campaigns from Republicans, Tea Party-affiliated “super PACs” like Americans for Prosperity, and the coal and oil industries.
After warning that scientists see the planet "locked into a dangerous future" without steep cuts in climate emissions, Davenport doled out useful tips for climate change activists, revolving, naturally around higher taxes:
Despite the history of roadblocks to enacting climate change policy, some experts say they do see some potential for a legislative path to cut United States carbon pollution.
One window could open if Congress takes up a comprehensive effort to overhaul the nation’s corporate tax code, which could happen after the 2016 presidential election.
Lastly, Davenport strung together some weather events and called them examples of "the impact of climate change."
This week’s report said the impact of climate change was already being experienced, and it followed on earlier scientific reports that have noted that climate change was exacerbating drought in Texas, rapidly rising sea levels along the Atlantic coast and higher storm surges caused by hurricanes in states like Florida and Louisiana. Among the likely Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination are Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.