Global Warming Alarmism's Long March through State and Local InstitutionsBy Peter Wilson
It's tempting to be complacent about the progress made against global warming alarmism. Climate legislation seems to be stalled in the U.S. Congress. A recent Gallup poll shows that concern about global warming among the American public is at historic lows; a mere 32% of Americans believe that global warming will affect them during their lifetimes.
We must keep in mind however that true believers don't give up simply because theirs is a minority opinion. They just try in other ways. Remember the New Left's "long march through the institutions." Remember Nancy Pelosi's defiant words when she was losing the legislative battle over ObamaCare: "We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole-vault in. If that doesn't work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people."
We have witnessed the Obama administration attempting an end run around Congress by siccing the EPA on "carbon polluters." Another means of pushing climate legislation that makes fewer headlines is the multitude of activities at state and local levels. A flyer for a meeting titled "Green Future 2020" that I attended in Cambridge, Massachusetts last week makes this exact point:
As the federal government continues to falter in its efforts to impose any meaningful standards of carbon emission control, it now falls to the states to step into the breach and push for innovative advances in clean, renewable energy to safeguard our environment and revitalize our national economy.
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change likewise agrees that "states and regions are acting as both leaders and innovators of climate change policy."
State climate legislation is not limited to the bluest states. A 2009 report from the Pew Center on the States lists 36 states with State Climate Action Plans. Thirty states have mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standards requiring a percentage (on average 20%) of electricity to be supplied by renewable sources. Five more states have RPS "goals." States without an official Climate Plan are sure to have numerous climate programs. Alaska has a Climate Change Sub-Cabinet position in former Governor Palin's office. Red state, oil-rich Texas is home to the Texas Climate Initiative, the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office. The Mayor of San Antonio is pushing a green jobs initiative. Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston are all members of Clean Cities Coalitions, and not surprisingly, Austin has its own Climate Protection Program, whose goal is "to make Austin the leading city in the nation in the fight against climate change."
Somewhere in the departments of Environmental Protection or Environmental Quality in all fifty states and in thousands of city governments, bureaucrats are hard at work -- for once! -- passing new legislation or implementing existing legislation, much of which was enacted in 2007 and 2008 when the public hadn't had time to figure out they were being taken for a ride.
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