By Teryn Norris & Daniel Goldfarb
President Obama’s exclusion of “climate change” from the State of the Union, combined with Carol Browner’s exit as the administration’s top climate advisor, has sparked wide debate across the climate movement. On one hand, many climate advocates are backing the president’s strategy. As Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) put it, “He’s trying to unify … I think it was very smart of him.”
On the other hand, climate advocates like Joe Romm of Climate Progress and David Roberts of Grist are criticizing the president for not using climate change as a central justification for his clean energy proposals. Unfortunately, even after the collapse of cap-and-trade legislation, Roberts and other critics continue to follow a type of policy literalism [PDF] that has undermined environmentalists and climate advocates for years.
The argument goes something like this. First, Roberts claims that without climate change as the central justification, the case for federal investment in the clean energy industry “is no stronger than the ... Read more