In his new column for the New York Times, celebrated economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman argues that Republicans' climate change denial is only going to get stronger, and sillier, once the Obama administration inevitably decides to take executive action.
"Until now, the right’s climate craziness has mainly been focused on attacking the science," Krugman writes. "But as the Obama administration moves toward actually doing something based on that science, crazy climate economics will come into its own."
What's "crazy climate economics"? According to Krugman, it's a collection of fallacious arguments he expects to be implemented by conservatives in their effort to stop any carbon policy changes whatsoever.
"First, we’ll see any effort to limit pollution denounced as a tyrannical act," Krugman predicts. "Second, we’ll see claims that any effort to limit emissions will have what Senator Marco Rubio is already calling 'a devastating impact on our economy.'"
In the end, Krugman believes, these flimsy arguments should be ignored. We're finally reaching something of a tipping point when it comes to climate change policy, Krugman argues, and we'd do well not to let conservative nonsense get in our way.
What about the argument that unilateral U.S. action won’t work, because China is the real problem? It’s true that we’re no longer No. 1 in greenhouse gases — but we’re still a strong No. 2. Furthermore, U.S. action on climate is a necessary first step toward a broader international agreement, which will surely include sanctions on countries that don’t participate.
So the coming firestorm over new power-plant regulations won’t be a genuine debate — just as there isn’t a genuine debate about climate science. Instead, the airwaves will be filled with conspiracy theories and wild claims about costs, all of which should be ignored. Climate policy may finally be getting somewhere; let’s not let crazy climate economics get in the way.