Sunday, April 26, 2015

Under what circumstance does McConnell's message to foreigners to do less on climate change help America rhetorical question?

Slate has a good article on Republican politicians siding with America's foreign rivals when Democrats run the executive branch, multiple times throughout the years.

The latest version of this is Mitch McConnell's advice to foreign countries that "Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal." Ignore for the moment that these international commitments are voluntary, not binding. There is no circumstance under which this statement serves an American interest.

The Republican mantra has been the US shouldn't move forward without the cooperation of other countries:

Now McConnell is trying to stop that cooperation.

What's even screwier is that even if you think the American interest isn't in cooperating, but rather that the US should take a free rider position and let other countries do most of the work of combating climate emissions, then McConnell's statement to foreigners is still a bad idea. Trying to get them not to do the work just makes things worse for us.

Maybe one could take the position that climate change is a hoax, therefore there's no need to do anything at all, but McConnell has apparently used the "I'm not a scientist" incantation, and doesn't claim it's all a hoax:

If you don't know it's a hoax, then you should take feasible opportunities to help, or at least do nothing to interfere with other countries' efforts.

That second clip is partly revealing though when McConnell says a Kentucky senator's job is to fight for coal jobs in his state. What he really means is to fight for coal industry profits - if he were fighting for jobs, he'd have used his power to slow down the mechanization of the industry responsible for the vast majority of the lost coal jobs.

So what he's saying is his job is to fight for coal industry profits and not for the American interest in the world. That's what he's doing with his advice to foreign countries.

UPDATE:  credit where due, Jeb Bush surpasses the low bar set by his party and acknowledges reality of climate change (while not saying what he'd do as President).