When your house is burning down, you don’t debate whether grabbing a fire extinguisher is better than calling 911 or vice versa. You do both, and if you can, you drag out the garden hose too.
Our global house is on fire. Congress and the president have answered the alarm by proposing a package of incentives that they hope will spur construction of a fire engine that will hold only a fraction of the water necessary to put the fire out. In exchange for these incentives, some in Congress want to shut down most of the existing fire department. And we in the environmental community — the house we all love going up in flames around us — are expected to act as if this is a good thing.
David is right: keeping the fire department (i.e., regulatory authority under the existing Clean Air Act) as a backup would be best. But he nonetheless concludes that adopting the incentives (i.e., the American Power Act) is “overwhelmingly” worth doing, even if the fire department gets closed down as a result. With respect, I think this is where he’s wrong — and here’s why.
David essentially dismisses the idea that we should strenu... Read more