Will Obama 'Betray' Environmentalists?
The way out is certainly not, as Team Obama has already acknowledged, to immediately and punitively raise Social Security and other taxes on the wealthiest 5% of Americans for the purpose of handing out money to millions of others. It is not to reimpose just-lifted bans on offshore drilling and other oil and natural gas exploration. And finally, it is not to enact a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system that Obama himself said during the primary season would "bankrupt" attempts at building new coal plants.
Obama will have an unexpected excuse if, as I expect (and hope), he abandons economy-crippling environmental aggressiveness in his first term. It is that the European Union has all but abandoned the radical climate change agenda. It is a development that has been virtually ignored by traditional media outlets in the U.S. But it's happening with a vengeance, and you don't have to look very hard to find it. Vehement objections are coming from Germany, Poland, Italy, and other EU countries.
What's more, world opinion is turning against green extremism. The most significant finding at the linked article is that only 27% of those polled in 11 countries, including the U.S., "wanted their governments to participate in Kyoto-style international agreements to reduce emissions." This explains why, thank goodness if true, the related December 1-12 United Nations-sponsored talks taking place in Poland "probably won't yield concrete results."
And in case there's thought of slouching into such a treaty, the Czech Republic's Vaclav Klaus will be there to frequently and strenuously object. In wonderfully serendipitous timing, Klaus, who has stated that "global warming alarmism is unacceptable and should be confronted," will assume the rotating presidency and, if necessary, the bully pulpit of the European Union in 2009.
The worldwide economic slowdown is causing a long-overdue reevaluation of global warming (if such warming even exists):
As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.
The "precautionary principle," in essence, says the following: "Okay, maybe we're not really, really sure that global warming is occurring. And even if it is, we're not really, really sure that human activity is causing it. But shouldn't we err on the safe side, thereby formulating and enforcing strict emissions limits, just in case?" Such an outlook, taken to the extreme, would close the door on any and all future human progress. World opinion, which Obama and leftists love to claim should hold so much sway, isn't answering "No." It's screaming "Heck no!"
Will a President Obama and the people he nominates for the EPA, Interior, and Energy really want to go it alone and put our economy in a choke hold, while the rest of the world, including top polluter China and India, continue to chug merrily along? I doubt it, at least not while the economy is where it is. But watch out if the economy recovers, or if there is a second Obama term.