Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jeb Bush's bad conscience on climate change

By Richard Barry

Just as we saw Mitt Romney do a 180 on policies he had previously championed in order to appeal to the "activist base" of the Republican Party, I have to wonder if Jeb Bush is similarly conflicted, at least in terms of what he thinks and what he has to say. I mean, aren't we always being told how smart Jeb is?

I'm probably giving him too much credit, but it seems that the way he is talking about climate change is a hedge against a bad conscience. So, for example, Jeb says "it's not clear what percentage of climate change is man-made," but he thinks the "government should provide incentives for methods like hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling."

Then again, there's this gem:
"For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you," he continued. "It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality." 

Yes, it's really arrogant for 97% of scientists to use science to empirically prove what the oil and gas industry doesn't want to acknowledge because it would damage their bottom line.
Jeb Bush hit back against President Obama's claim that climate change runs an immediate risk, saying Wednesday that while it shouldn't be ignored, it's still not "the highest priority."

As he has before, Bush acknowledged "the climate is changing" but stressed that it's unknown why. "I don't think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted," he said at a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire.

But here's the hedge:
"The President's approach is, effectively, reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint," he said. "That's not what he says, of course, but that's the result of his policies."

Rather than focusing on carbon emissions, Bush said, the federal government should provide more incentives for lower carbon-producing forms of energy, like hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.

"I don't think it's the highest priority. I don't think we should ignore it, either," Bush said of climate change. "Just generally I think as conservatives we should embrace innovation, embrace technology, embrace science. ... Sometimes I sense that we pull back from the embrace of these things. We shouldn't.

For a Republican, that's a pretty nuanced view on climate change, one that I am sure will be robustly attacked by Jeb Bush's opponents in the GOP presidential nomination race. 

The question is, which Fox News personality will be the first to ask Republican candidates, yes or no, if climate change is man made?

Try to nuance that, Jeb.


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  • He's just trying to thread the needle. If he can get the nomination, not being a global warming denier will be all that the mainstream media need to label him a "moderate" and even a "centrist." But even what he's saying isn't good. We can call it Step 4 of climate change denial, "Climate change is real. It is man made. We could do something about it. But we shouldn't because it will hurt economic growth." That last claim is not true, by the way.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:29 PM  

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