Climate change was barely mentioned in [Algiers or Brussels]. I wish it was the same in the US, where any conversation about energy policy starts and ends with climate change. It is a political buzzword that either excites or enrages. It is time to move forward for other reasons, for the reasons Europe and an oil-exporting African nation are moving forward.
But there are other issues the ex-Gubernator didn’t really address: the scams and the failures of so many of the policies that Brussels advocates. European energy policy is a dismal wasteland of crony capitalism and flawed initiatives — so much so that after spending billions of euros, the EU can’t match American success in carbon reduction and is importing American coal.As Europeans have found to their cost, subsidies for not ready for prime time renewable energy sources incentivize inefficiency and rather than creating wealth and jobs shift resources from productive to less productive uses. And Schwarzenegger still fails to understand, despite so much evidence around him on every side, that there is nothing magical about the word “green” that will keep jobs making solar panels or other green tech devices from moving to China or other low cost producers.More bizarrely still, the Governor thinks that America is a global laggard in the energy field; “We cannot fall behind,” he frets. Apparently Governor Schwarzenegger is the last person on earth to learn about the American energy revolution now underway, as the United States leads the world in the production of unconventional hydrocarbons. It’s called “fracking,” Governor, and it is a world-beating technology and it is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The United States is about to become the world’s largest producer of both oil and gas even as our CO2 emissions continue to decline.Environmentalism has too often become the playground of feel-good activists who like to believe they are helping the planet without all the pain and frustration of actual thought. There are some very smart and capable people trying to figure out how humanity can conserve and even enhance the beauty and sustainability of this glorious planet we’ve been given to live on; in the green movement, these people are too often outnumbered and outshouted by the demagogues, the Malthusians, and above all the rent-seekers, those clever ‘social entrepreneurs’ who’ve learned that nothing sells a pig of a subsidy program like a little green lipstick.Governor Schwarzenegger could be an effective advocate for serious environmental policy and thought. He appears, sadly, to have chosen another path. He’s arguing here that the phrase ‘climate change’ has become a negative concept for too many people. Given that, he thinks that greens should keep their agenda intact, but try to sell it as a jobs program. Don’t put climate change lipstick on your pigs, says the Governor. The marks are wising up. Use the jobs lipstick instead, he advises; they will still go for that.[Arnold Schwarzenegger image courtesy of Wikimedia]