CNN’s climate “townhall” was meant to promote Democrats, showcasing an issue dear to the hearts of the party’s liberal base and the 2020 presidential field. The candidates were delighted to join. It gave them a chance to show they are truly green, care as deeply as the activists, and intend to act decisively. They stopped just short of demanding we all walk to work and heat our homes with Sterno cans.
The candidates signaled their virtue with evangelical fervor. It was reminiscent of an old-fashioned revival, this one for a new secular religion. One by one, the top-tier contenders vowed to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money, kill millions of jobs, and impose sweeping controls on the U.S. economy. It was a bidding war with somebody else’s money.
CNN’s amen chorus never bothered to ask three crucial questions. First, how can America pull off this ambitious agenda without breaking the federal budget and fundamentally changing the way we live? Second, if these proposals were implemented, how much would they actually reduce global warming? Most estimates show, unfortunately, that they would have little impact, far less than one degree on the thermometer over several decades. Third, how can this global problem be solved if China and India continue to fill the air with soot?
No candidate volunteered the answers, of course. Yet these unspoken questions raise fundamental problems for voters, including those concerned about the environment.