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Hot & Bothered

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFebruary 1, 2011 12:00 AM


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In this week's New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg sizes up President Obama's most talked about target="_blank">feint in last week's State of the Union address and declares it a

a masterly exercise in rear-guard tactics disguised as visionary optimism. A section was devoted to fighting climate change, but under an assumed name: "clean-energy technology," for which he proposed new public investments "that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people." (The second of that trio of goals was as close as he came to pronouncing the dread words.) He set a goal of generating eighty per cent of America's electricity from "clean-energy sources" by 2035. Even as he called for a review of "unnecessary" regulations, he declared that he "will not hesitate to create or enforce common-sense safeguards to protect the American people," an apparent reference to the E.P.A.'s ambitious plans to limit carbon-dioxide emissions. And he called on Congress "to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies," the grotesque pastiche of tax expenditures that subsidize oil over other, less harmful sources of energy. The President has not, in fact, given up on doing something about climate change. If he holds firm, perhaps his efforts will yet make a difference. But Mother Nature is growing impatient, and she has a hot temper.

The same can be said for some climate bloggers, who seem to be growing crankier by the day. 

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