Paul Krugman: Nothing less than "the fate of the planet" is at stake in this election

We're on the edge of solving our climate crisis, but a GOP win would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published February 29, 2016 1:55PM (EST)

                      (Reuters/Tim Shaffer)
(Reuters/Tim Shaffer)

Super Tuesday will likely cement what many political observers suspect will be the general election match-up this fall between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and with his Monday New York Times column, Paul Krugman set to shake any remnants of political apathy and warned that nothing less than the survival of humanity is at stake this November.

The environment "is by far the most important issue there is," Krugman contended, arguing that the Republican Party is more anti-science and dangerous to the environment than in recent memory, "sacrificing the planet in the name of conservative ideology."

"Just eight years ago the G.O.P. nominated John McCain," Krugman noted, "whose platform included a call for a “cap and trade” system."

"Since then, however, denial of climate science and opposition to anything that might avert catastrophe have become essential pillars of Republican identity. So the choice in 2016 is starker than ever before."

But what makes the 2016 election so crucial in the fight to save the planet, Krugman says, is the impressive progress on the climate we've made thus far:

Dramatic progress in energy technology has put us in a position where executive action — action that relies on existing law — can achieve great things. All we need is an executive willing to take that action, and a Supreme Court that won’t stand in its way.

And this year’s election will determine whether those conditions hold.


As long as the prospect of effective action on climate seemed remote, sheer despair kept me, and I’m sure many others, comfortably numb — you knew nothing was going to happen, so you just soldiered on. Now, however, salvation is clearly within our grasp, but it remains all too possible that we’ll manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And this is by far the most important issue there is; it, er, trumps even such things as health care, financial reform, and inequality.

Read the rest at the New York Times…

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Enviroment Op-ed Paul Krugman Paul Krugman New York Times