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August 30, 2010

WaPo's Elegy for Environmentalism

Even with a sympathetic writer, the enviroweenies just come off as pathetic:

They put on what they called a "CarnivOil" - a fake carnival with a stilt-wearing barker, free "tar balls" (chocolate doughnuts), and a suit-wearing "oil executive" punching somebody dressed like a crab. It was supposed to be satire, but there was a bitter message underneath: When we fight the oil and gas industry, they win.

"We killed the clean-energy bill! There's still no cap on oil spills!" yelled Heather Brutz, the barker, who was pretending to speak for the industry. "And now, for our graaaaaaand finale, we're going to pass the diiiiiirty-air act!"

A year ago, these groups seemed to be at the peak of their influence, needing only the Senate's approval for a landmark climate-change bill. But they lost that fight, done in by the sluggish economy and opposition from business and fossil-fuel interests.

Now the groups are wondering how they can keep this loss from becoming a rout as their opponents press their advantage and try to undo the Obama administration's climate efforts. At two events last week in Wisconsin, environmental groups seemed to be trying two strategies: defiance and pleading for sympathy.

Neither one drew enough people to fill a high school gym.

The piece goes on, at length, to describe how demoralized environmentalists are that nobody takes them seriously. Really. After the guy in the crab suit, nobody's taking them seriously. Guy in a crab suit. Dude.

Instead, the blame for the fact that the strident, but heartfelt, cries of environmentalists have gone unheeded and mostly mocked has fallen on the usual suspect: the energy industry. Not the guy in a crab suit.

Every few minutes, there would be a fight. The person in the crab costume - said to be boxing on behalf of the environment - would take on the fake oil executive. Each bout followed the same script: The oil executive would bribe the referee, who would make the crab take off his boxing gloves.

Soon after, the crab would be lying on the mat, KO'd.

"Oh! The Earth is down! It's taken too many hits!" yelled "ref" Scott Thompson. "Remember, folks, just like in the real world, big oil always gets the upper hand!"

The event drew in scattered pedestrians, and afterward organizers said dozens had signed their petitions calling for action against climate change.

Remember, folks, just like in the real world, a human being dressed as a crab is a spectacle, not a persuasive case that we should hobble the economy to serve the interests of...well, I'm not even sure whose interests these enviroweenies purport to be defending. In their own words:

"What was revealed by the last year or two was that the energy industry hasn't even had to break a sweat yet in beating this stuff off. Our side did absolutely everything you're supposed to do . . . but got nowhere," whined author Bill McKibben, who co-founded the climate-focused group 350.org.

If by "did absolutely everything you're supposed to do" he meant "whined a lot, but actually persuaded nobody" then I guess that quote is accurate. In fact, the Senate refused to touch the Democratic cap and tax plan because anyone who ever took a freshman economics class knows that it would raise the price of everything made, transported, or stored using electricity. And, of course, raise the price of electricity itself, a product (like gasoline) for which the poor and middle-class are least able to absorb price hikes.

Hmmm, environmentalism turns out to be bad for the poor, bad for the middle-class, and bad for the economy. Yeah, I just can't figure out why the environuts are getting no traction. No idea. (Guy in a crab suit!)


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:14 AM

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