Did Bill Clinton really say we have to “slow our economy” to deal with global warming?
In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ‘cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”
At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? “Slow down our economy”?
I don’t really think there’s much debate that, at least initially, a full commitment to reduce greenhouse gases would slow down the economyâ€¦.So was this a moment of candor?
A “moment of candor?” Or a journalistic faux pas? Here’s more from Bill:
â€œEverybody knows that global warming is real,â€ Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Goreâ€™s Nobel Peace Prize, â€œbut we cannot solve it alone.â€(HT: Sadly No)
â€œAnd maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada â€” the rich counties â€” would say, â€˜OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions â€™cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.â€™ We could do that.
â€œBut if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the worldâ€™s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.
Obviously, Clinton was not recommending that we unilaterally slow down our economy to cut emissions. He was saying that just because we did, others wouldn’t necessarily follow suit.
But just what the hell was he saying? He was saying that “the fight” against global warming will create more jobs and build a “sustainable(?) economy” that will save the planet so that Californians won’t wake up one morning a hundred years from now in desperate need of water wings and flippers.
Earth to Brad: I congratulate you on calling Tapper out for his idiotic take on Clinton’s speech. But you missed the real story. What Bill said was a lie. A great, big, fat, Clintonian truthbusting whopper of a fib.
As much as scientists all agree that global warming is “real” – and they do – economists are in agreement that cutting our emissions even modestly will entail a huge cost to our economy. How much depends on what model you’‘re looking at (ironically, exactly the same as trying to glean how much warming can be expected over the next century). From a low of $500 billion over ten years to a high of $1.8 trillion over a decade are current estimates published in peer reviewed journals.
In case you were curious about what effect that might have on the economy, imagine all the global warming advocates in the world gathering together in one place, each of them with a $100 bill. Then imagine a bonfire where all of those millions of hundreds are burned while the greens take off their clothes, cover themselves in body paint, and dance a dabke in celebration.
Well…maybe they wouldn’t cover themselves in body paint. Maybe they’d just smear honey on themselves or vegetable oil. But you get the picture.
Taking that much money out of the economy would if not be catastrophic, it would certainly cause a long, painful recession. I haven’t seen a recent study on the number of jobs that would be lost so I won’t give a number. But economists are in almost unanimous agreement that the effect on job growth would be severe.
Bill Clinton is lying through his teeth by trying to make dealing with global warming a painless process. It won’t be. It will involve massive disruptions in industry and labor with some regions being hit very hard. We would have to alter our lifestyles not just in how we use energy and generate emissions but in fundamental ways we are just beginning to grasp. There will be a cascade effect on our society that no one – and I mean no one – can foresee.
Clinton talks of “building a sustainable” economy. Just what does he mean? What exactly does “sustainable” mean? Not surprisingly, no one knows. But it sure sounds good, eh?
Population growth alarmists talk about “sustainable” economies being able to support 1-2 billion people on earth. Meanwhile, the United Nations – in true bureaucratic fashion – has perhaps the most confusing (and sometimes contradictory) sets of criteria for sustainability that encompasses all facets of society, not just the economy.
But contained in many of these “sustainability models” is a streak of Ludditism – anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-property rights, anti-growth; in short, anti-people and anti-freedom. This is the true agenda of some global warming fanatics. And I believe it is telling that Bill Clinton has adopted their nomenclature to lull us to sleep about the true cost of cutting emissions.
Now let me say that if this is what it would take to save the planet, we would have no choice but to initiate the kind of draconian policies that would harm our economy most severely. Let me further say that I believe that anthropogenic global warming is a reality although man is probably not to blame to the degree usually ascribed.
The problem isn’t whether global warming is “real” or not. The problem is that there is not one iota of proof that reducing emissions will lower the temperature. Zero. Zip. Nada. Common sense would dictate that it would but some models show differently. This is a part of climate science that all can agree is not settled – not by any stretch of the imagination.
So in effect, we are being asked to drastically alter our economy and our lifestyle on a whim and a prayer. No thanks.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to lower emissions by developing new (and old) technologies that would generate less greenhouse gas while working to wean ourselves from foreign oil supplies. It does mean that Bill Clinton is a lying sack of rotten potatoes when he tries to sell “sustainable” economic growth as a painless panacea for reducing our carbon footprint.
Bryan at Hot Air is on pretty much the same wavelength I am:
He goes on to serve up pipe dreams about how green tech like 100-mile-per-gallon cars will create more jobs, which seems unlikely. Heâ€™s also off in the weeds when he declares that anything is â€œthe only way it will work.â€ Thatâ€™s classic Clintonian fallacy: A complex problem, if itâ€™s even a real problem, requires a complex set of solutions, supposing itâ€™s even something we could solve.
The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, ABC actually played Clintonâ€™s â€œslow down the economyâ€ line unfairly and ended up downplaying his argument against the far left on global warming. Iâ€™m sure that will be too much mental jujitsu for the Clinton-hating, â€œconservative mediaâ€ nutroots to handle.