The two biggest climate warriors I know have pretty strong views. One worked for the Climate Exchange that tried to get off the ground in Chicago and one is a non-profit lawyer.
One wanted laws against SUVs for soccer moms and the other was violently opposed to Keystone Pipeline. He accused me of "spouting right wing talking points" and being "completely uninformed" about the facts of the matter. When I asked him to inform me we had a very cordial and friendly discussion. My point was this.
The oil that is being extracted from the Canadian oil sands will be refined and used. This is just a fact. Our choices, as I saw it, were:
1.) Transport by pipeline to America. Refine and distribute here
2.) Sell internationally, most likely to China
My argument was that pipeline transportation is far more secure than piping to coast, loading on to oil tankers, trans-ocean shipment, offload, and pipe to refineries. EVEN IF nothing happens to harm the environment through those (unnecessary) steps, the standards for pollution in oil refineries are astronomically higher here than in China. Aside from the obvious economic boon to us with this high paying, blue collar jobs that will be created, environmentally it seems like the Keystone option is a HUGE winner for the environment. He hoped that first nation groups would all agree to stop the drilling and refining to happen. Meanwhile, in the real world, this oil is being shipped to China.
This oil could be used to fuel his car when he drives up to Wisconsin every other weekend to go mountain biking.
The SUV zealot also happens to be the most widely traveled person that I know. He has been to every continent and is always in the process of planning his next trip. Why should Soccer Moms change what they want to do when he is not canceling his globe trotting in the eyes of this crisis? Why does he know better than them what is judicious and right? Maybe she is carpooling and is actually saving the planet by taking 5 kids in one trip rather than separate cars? Maybe she feels safer with more metal between her kids and the road? Maybe it is none of our business? Maybe these high minded technocrats do not know what is best for everyone else?
DOE Secretary Stephen Chu rhapsodized about European gas prices as they forced people to drive less. Obama said that electricity prices would "necessarily skyrocket" under his plan and that we cannot "Drive our SUVs or keep our houses at 70 degrees"
Energy is the biggest regressive tax around. Every regulation, closed oil well and mandated alternative energy minimums increase the cost of everything bought or sold in the entire country. Poor people lack the cushion that these better off liberals have in their budgets to make up for every trip to the the grocery store and gas station cost incrementally more. They do not have that luxury. And these are the ones that beat their chests about how people could only vote for Republicans because they hate poor people and minorities.
I like this take by from Indiana Jones
I will start treating this like a crisis when the people who lecture me about it start acting like it is