"The reality is right now we've got an administration in the Obama administration that are science deniers when it comes to harnessing America's energy resources and potential to create good-paying jobs for our economy and for our future."
Governor Jindal pretends his energy plan is balanced.
—Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
The governor made that comment at a breakfast Tuesday as part of his presentation of a slick, 47-page energy plan: Organizing Around Abundance: Making America An Energy Superpower.
As is made clear in that document, saying the administration is filled with science deniers is really just cover for one more round of the old "pointy-headed Washington bureaucrats" sneer made popular by another Southern governor two generations ago: George Wallace.
Give Jindal credit for clever weasel wording. Early on in the energy plan, Charles Krauthammer's commentary is approvingly cited:
I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30, or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.
Neither a believer nor a denier. That's what Ben Geman at the National Journal labels
"soft skepticism." If Jindal decides to run for president in 2016, that straddle would work to give him maneuvering room between the Republican hard-core that views global warming as a hoax and the small but somewhat saner wing of his party. It's an asinine stance. And probably not politically that smart either. Here's one of the innumerable scientifically backed synopses
of reality from the World Meteorological Society:
Climate is always changing. However, many of the observed changes noted above are beyond what can be explained by the natural variability of the climate. It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.
A key objective of Jindal's plan is obvious. "Radical" appears 23 times in the document: "left-wing radical environmentalists," "radical environmental ideology," "radical leftist ideology," "radical EPA," "radical policy changes," "radical NGOs," "radical policy agenda," etc. Somebody read the book on how repetition makes propaganda work.
More on this subject can be found below the fold.
Other than that, Jindal's plan is pretty much the standard right-wing blueprint: a minor manifesto filled with the same ideas that the string-pullers in the fossil-fuel industry have been promoting for decades: support for more drilling (including fracking) of oil and gas, more digging of coal, chopping of environmental regulations, opening up more federal land to drillers and diggers, building more nuclear power plants, finishing the Keystone XL pipeline and ending the ban on exporting crude oil.
There's also a complaint about the "activist" Supreme Court majority, which ruled 5-4 in 2007 that the Environmental Protection Agency is obligated to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
The Jindal plan does offer some lip service to renewable energy. But mostly this section is just boilerplate about the rapid, no-longer-can-be-ignored growth of renewable installations. The rest of the section is an argument against the tax incentives designed to ramp up the generating of electricity from wind, solar, geothermal and hydro sources. Though hardly original, the governor proposes that the still toddling renewables industries compete on a "level playing field" with the mature fossil fuel industry. In other words, not level competition at all.
Jindal brings up China and a "corrupt" United Nations as good reasons for abandoning the Kyoto-Copenhagen framework for an international agreement on curbing emissions. China now generates more total greenhouse emissions than any other nation on the planet. But arguing that it must curb its total emissions while the U.S. continues to have the highest per capita emissions is just another way to avoid setting an example by taking effective action.
Sure, climate change might be real, the plan concedes, while implying that it's not nearly as real as "histrionic" scientists make it out to be. From page 40:
Now for the inconvenient truth: Global warming has become a religion for many on the Left. For most radical environmentalists, their response to any questioning of their views on climate change is simply to yell “Heretic!” This is not a logical,
rational, or scientific way of approaching public policy.
He's right. What he describes is not
a rational approach. But his description is bogus.
Since the days a quarter-century ago that Exxon-Mobil, the Kochs and other oil barons began their smear campaign against climate scientists, it hasn't been those scientists who have engaged in histrionics and labeled people heretics but rather shills who picked up $558 million from 2003 to 2010 to tell lies downplaying global warming and trashing the reputations of leading climate scientists.
It isn't "science deniers" now in the Obama White House who claimed less than a decade ago that Greenland and the Arctic ice cap were not dwindling. Or that the seasons were not changing. Or that the oceans were not growing dangerously more acidic.
The histrionics and alarmism came from extremists who claimed, as Jindal does still, that regulating greenhouse gas emissions is "radical" and will destroy our economy. That's not just wrong, it's completely upside down.