Environment

Salvaging the Wreckage

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApr 14, 2009 8:17 PM

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This morning, Michael Shellenberger assessed the cratering political landscape for cap-and-trade legislation, and his analysis strikes me as an accurate picture of where things stand now. Among the many he took to task was the President:

If there is a strategy coming from the White House, it's not obvious what it is.

Well, a few hours later, at Georgetown University, President Obama, in wide-ranging remarks on the economy, made his pitch, insisting that the only way to spark a renewable energy revolution was "through a gradual, market-based cap on carbon pollution." His argument boiled down to this:

If businesses and entrepreneurs know today that we are closing this carbon pollution loophole, they'll start investing in clean energy now. And pretty soon, we'll see more companies constructing solar panels, and workers building wind turbines, and car companies manufacturing fuel-efficient cars. Investors will put some money into a new energy technology, and a small business will open to start selling it. That's how we can grow this economy, enhance our security, and protect our planet at the same time.

Too little, too late? Probably. But in that very last line, he laid out the public relations strategy next time around.

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