Two FrumForum posts I wrote recently about climate politics — “How the GOP Should Explain Climate Change” and “Newt, Your Ad With Pelosi Wasn’t Dumb” — netted me an appearance on “The Green Front,” a program of the Progressive Radio Network. This was thanks to fellow FF contributor D.R. Tucker, erstwhile guest on the show, who sent my posts to the host, Betsy Rosenberg.
As my segment started, following one with two members of Canada’s Green Party, Rosenberg noted that the program was about to feature a Republican and so was not limited to members of some left-wing echo chamber. Ironically, I got cut off moments later, though the producer got me back on the air soon enough.
Some of Rosenberg’s questions, always presented quite civilly, were variations on the theme of what’s wrong with the Republican Party when it comes to climate science and policy. I offered no excuses for a GOP that I do think has gone badly astray in this area in recent years. Discussing how things came to this pass, I discussed the Tea Party, “Climategate” and links to fossil fuel industries and also how the Democrats, even with science on their side, have done a poor job of presenting and addressing the climate issue.
We talked about my preferred policy approach, of coupling a carbon tax with tax cuts elsewhere. The speech I wrote for a notional GOP politician in my how-to-explain-it post, I explained, was aimed at setting not only a policy framework but also a tone that could resonate with conservative voters. We discussed why Newt Gingrich now says his ad with Pelosi was a mistake (hint: it’s not because he has reassessed the substance of the issue and determined he was wrong about the science).
Some five years ago, I noted, global warming seemed to be gaining acceptance in conservative circles as a real problem that government should address. The terms of debate changed rapidly thereafter, which suggests things could change quickly again. Speculating about politics in coming decades, I sketched out a scenario of a bitter divide between a right wing eager to do something about climate change — through high-tech “planetary engineering” — and a left wing hostile to such tampering with nature.
The show is available here.