Commentary

The climate crisis is no excuse for backsliding on democracy

| Jul 11, 2022

American elites might make greater progress securing the citizenry’s commitment to democracy if they took it more seriously themselves.

They consider climate change one of the highest stakes issues in the United States right now. “No challenge,” intoned President Barack Obama in his 2015 State of the Union address, “no challenge, poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” And yet it is here that democracy seems to have become most optional for some.

Obama backed aggressive “cap-and-trade” legislation early in his first term, which fizzled out in the Senate and exacted a major political price. By his re-election campaign in 2012, he was no longer discussing any form of pricing for greenhouse gas emissions. Even after winning re-election, his press secretary averred point-blank that “we would never propose a carbon tax.”

But in fact, the administration was working to put a price on carbon, promulgating a rule through the Environmental Protection Agency called the “Clean Power Plan” that made use of an obscure provision of the Clean Air Act of 1970 to impose a nationwide cap-and-trade programme on the nation’s power plants.

Continue Reading at Financial Times

Oren Cass is the executive director at American Compass.

@oren_cass