The New York Times blows a head valve because “The Trump administration on Wednesday replaced former President Barack Obama’s effort to reduce planet-warming pollution from coal plants with a new rule that would keep plants open longer and undercut progress on reducing carbon emissions.” And apparently it’s worse than it is because “The move largely gives states the authority to decide how far to scale back emissions, or not to do it all” and so “If the Supreme Court ultimately upholds the administration’s approach to pollution regulation, it would shut down a key avenue that future presidents could use to address climate change.” Unless, of course, the same voters who choose presidents also elect state governments pledged to act.
“Planet-warming pollution” is evidently the Times’ new cut-and-paste term for CO2. Whether it is a good business model for the press to turn themselves into the propaganda arm of one particular movement is open to question since, amusingly, some 70 people were just arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest against the New York Times for giving insufficient attention to climate including, apparently, not search-replacing “climate change” with “climate emergency”. As Edmund Burke remarked of left-wing factionalism in the French Revolution, “Birds of prey are not gregarious.”
If the Times wants a less hysterical audience, it could try reminding readers that one of the many virtues of federalism is, famously, that subordinate units can be “laboratories of democracy”. As they seem to be on climate in the United States, whose wide-open, rowdy and often raucous politics includes, the Times notes, a growing divide between “blue” states with aggressive climate plans and “red” states without. Which might help us see what works and what doesn’t, although climate is obviously not a local issue (nor, indeed, a national one, raising further problems of the sort that bedevil carbon taxes that lack international enforcement mechanisms).
Time magazine tried, blaming Donald Trump for declining air quality in American cities and saying Obama's just-replaced “Clean Power Plan… would have gradually phased out coal-burning power plants that emit both air pollutants and heat-trapping gases responsible for climate change." But then it admitted that "Air quality is affected by a complex mix of factors, both natural and man-made” and that “Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration, which took office in January 2017.” But Time couldn’t stop itself, concluding that it’s all Trump’s fault anyway because these scientists “say looser restrictions and lax enforcement would almost certainly reverse the gains that have been made in recent decades, potentially turning what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend.”
As we’ve suggested to the press before, to enhance credibility try reporting things that did happen, not things that might be going to.