No, 450 is not politically possible today.
OK, that was clear before. But the debate over the Climate Security Act made clear it won’t be politically possible anytime soon, for two reasons:
- The vast majority of conservatives have not budged an inch on climate science even in the face of now overwhelming direct scientific observation and a much deeper and broader scientific understanding of the dangerous impact of unrestricted human greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.
- Equally important, conservatives now have a very potent political issue to beat back advocates of an economy-wide cap & trade system — high gasoline prices. And gasoline prices are probably going to be much higher over the next few years (see “Must read CIBC report: $7 gas by 2010, 10 million cars off the road, 1970s style GDP growth“). That is one reason I would leave transportation out of an economy-wide cap & trade, but that will be the subject of another post.
I live-blogged the debate at the time. Here are the highlights — or, rather, lowlights — from the GOP side that make clear just how far conservatives are from understanding climate reality: