I was watching a snippet from Blogging Heads, and the UK's Minister for Europe noted that he was surprised to learn that some Americans thought 'climate change' was a pretext for a liberal agenda. I guess the idea never occurred to him because as Al Gore noted, the science is over.
He noted that the upside of Global Warming is there are tons of 'green collar' jobs to be had! And he has a point. If we don't let companies burn fossil fuels like coal or gas, and don't build any more nuclear plants, all of us will have full time jobs collecting biomass for fuel as they do in Africa, or washing our clothes in the river, or walking to work. The smell of dung can really add a little zest to your smoked ribs.
Living in Minnesota, we could use a couple more degrees. Indeed, cold spells are generally worse for mammalian life than heat spells, but that's no mind. The reason why some of us think there's a pretext here is we have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain, Carter's malaise speech about the 70's energy crisis, the ozone hole, deforestation, and then when the metrics don't continue their trend and life goes on, they find a new boogie man. There's always a greater good, whether it's not discussing the gulag when coming back from the Soviet Union, exaggerating the risk of heterosexual AIDS, downplaying the corruption by the latest African kleptocrat, or promoting the "4 food groups", many, if not most 'big ideas' are merely pretexts for people wanting to push various selfish agendas.
A coal plant was up for construction in Minnesota, and it seems like it will not be built because the environmentalists convinced the judge, that private business could not build this plant, because the energy provided 'could' be produced by energy efficiencies and/or wind. I found this amusing as currently there are thousands of windfarms scattered around 27 states, all heavily subsidized, and they generate--when the wind is blowing--only the output of about two 750-megawatt gas-fired plants. Furthermore, most of the cost estimates for wind power are generated by those with a direct interest in wind technology, including the governmental units that would regulate, and thus control, this new technology. As most of the cost of wind is the capital cost, and these costs are generally private, and they are currently heavily subsidized by a network of agencies, as well as state, federal, county and city governments, who knows their cost i within a factor of ten? But just mention 'climate change' and the judge thinks you've properly referenced your assertion. If an energy company that gets paid to deliver energy and wants to make profits, decides it wants to build a coal plant to generate the energy, my guess is that it is because coal is the cheapest practical way to deliver the energy even after the subsidies.
Ethanol was co-opted by the agriculture industry, and now we have a permanent new entitlement that is adding pollutants to what remains of our water table, and raising food prices. The basic liberal plan is to reduce our ability to provide energy so that it is rationed, and thus take the myriad decisions of individuals and put them back into the hands of the government, who will dictate that we all move into 'sustainable lifestyles': living in city high rises, eating Soylent Green.
So yes, I think 'climate change' is primarily driven by liberal activists who wish to give the government more power (and because power is zero-sum, implicitly less to individuals), and the corporate sycophants who think playing the game is the best way to stay in power. I'm not saying climate change is indefensible, I just think it's sufficiently unproven that it shouldn't even be a determinant, let alone the main determinant in making capital decisions like building energy plants (tech note: 'climate change' refers to costs related to climate change and its myriad effects, not the costs of soot and smoke on lungs and crops). For example, estimates of the potential carbon tax can range from $10 to $100 per ton, so if one chooses $100, basically nothing will be built. Further, if one can merely assert that 'energy efficiency' pays for itself and obviates a new oil well or coal plant, and lots of people assume it is true because it helps fight climate change. Pretext allows people to veto all sorts of development, all they do is mention the phrase 'global warming'.
A politician should understand that about half of what we say, isn't what we mean. But then again, I shouldn't take him at his word.