Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Opportunity or opportunism?

An AP article about Hillary Clinton has a title that can be taken in at least two ways:

Clinton sees opportunity in climate woes

I think I can be forgiven for initially assuming that they were referring to the political opportunities that AGW alarmism provides, but as it turns out, Hillary was talking about the economy.

The battle against global warming means big economic opportunities as well as challenges for the U.S., Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, touting her energy proposals as she campaigned in Iowa.

"For this generation, climate change is our space race," said Clinton, speaking in a cavernous factory with giant wind turbines in the background.

Clinton, who is pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, is calling for creation of a $50 billion strategic energy fund, coupled with tougher fuel efficiency standards financed in part by $20 billion in "green vehicle bonds." It's part of a package she calls the most comprehensive offered to tackle global warming.

"The climate crisis is also one of the greatest economic opportunities in the history of our country," she said. "It will unleash a wave of innovation, create millions of new jobs, enhance our security and lead the world to a revolution in how we produce and use energy."

Instead of billions of dollars and millions of jobs being pumped into the economy, it seems to me that a "space race" style boom in the climate change arena will largely involve the shifting of money and jobs away from other industries. Why? Because such a boom will be heavily subsidized by the government (as evidenced by HRC's own proposals quoted above), and such financial incentives will be too great a temptation for most companies to resist.

We've already seen this phenomenon with the government's push for biofuels -- so far, the US and many other countries are seeing a net decrease in the amount of land under cultivation for food production.

The article continues with a masterpiece of illogic:

Global warming hits particularly hard at the poor, she said.

"One in four low-income families have already missed a mortgage or rent payment because of rising energy costs," Clinton said.

Best of the Web's James Taranto could barely contain his sniggering at this:
This is a complete non sequitur. Rising energy costs are supposed to be a solution to global warming, not a problem caused by it. What's more, if temperatures rise in winter, that ought to reduce the amount of money low-income families would have to spend heating their homes. Mrs. Clinton seems to be invoking "global warming" here just as a politically correct slogan, devoid of meaning.