Tuesday, September 6, 2022

1988 Presidential Campaign, Republican, Democratic, and Climate Change...

From a Reddit post of mine, for future reference:

The three big environmental issues in the 1980s that could be addressed by cap-and-trade were the ozone hole (done), acid rain (done), and climate change. Reagan's EPA also used cap-and-trade to phase out leaded gasoline faster than originally anticipated by the initial ban.

Many of the most serious environmental problems that will confront us in the years ahead are global in scope. For example, degradation of the stratospheric ozone layer poses a health hazard not only to Americans, but to all peoples around the globe. The Reagan-Bush Administration successfully pioneered an agreement to attack this problem through world-wide action. In addition, we will continue to lead this effort by promoting private sector initiatives to develop new technologies and adopt processes which protect the ozone layer. A similar ability to develop international agreements to solve complex global problems such as tropical forest destruction, ocean dumping, climate change, and earthquakes will be increasingly vital in the years ahead. All of these efforts will require strong and experienced leadership to lead the other nations of the world in a common effort to combat ecological dangers that threaten all peoples. The Republican Party believes that, toward this end, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should be joined with the Environmental Protection Agency.

That folks was a plank in the 1988 Republican Presidential Campaign Platform. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/republican-party-platform-1988

George W. Bush was CIA Director when, in the 70s, the CIA place climate change on the list of strategic national security threats.

Then to over simplify and make a long story short, Bush's Chief of Staff Sununu got a hair across his ass after getting cap-and-trade on sulfur dioxide passed in 1990 to control acid rain largely caused by coal burning -- left wing environmentalists tended to hate trade-based systems and wanted prescription based controls they could impose plant by plant, so even the environmental victories the Republicans were achieving weren't making any political difference; it was pissing off some donors and not getting credit from swing voters due to criticism from the left. So Sununu basically said fuck it we're not fighting this battle again this time for cap-and-trade on carbon and it all went down hill from there.

Oh, and the Democrats lead by Dukakis wanted to make sure they didn't upset the voters in coal country by talking about it in the '88 elections. Their version of drill baby, drill:

WE BELIEVE that a balanced, coherent energy policy, based on dependable supplies at reasonable prices, is necessary to protect our national security, ensure a clean environment. and promote stable economic growth and prosperity, both nationally and in our energy producing regions; that the inevitable transition from our present, nearly total dependence on increasingly scarce and environmentally damaging non-renewable sources to renewable sources should begin now; that such a policy includes increased cooperation with our hemispheric neighbors, filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, promoting the use of natural gas, methanol and ethanol as alternative transportation fuels, encouraging the use of our vast natural gas and coal reserves while aggressively developing clean coal technology to combat acid rain, and providing targeted new incentives for new oil and gas drilling and development, for the development of renewable and alternative sources of energy, and for the promotion of energy conservation. We believe that with these changes the country could reduce its reliance on nuclear power while insisting that all plants are safe, environmentally sound and assured of safe waste disposal.

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/1988-democratic-party-platform

(The words "climate" and "warming" do not appear in the platform...)

(The Republican platform also encourage "clean coal" technology; however they also endorsed not only continuing but also expanding the use of nuclear.)
Not in my Reddit reply above, but afterwards got to thinking. There are a few many moments in American history where you can look at find one side making the perfect the enemy of the good. Ted Kennedy refusing Nixon's proposal 1974 proposal that was slightly better than Obamacare passed 38 years later (most of the ACA provisions where in Nixon's proposal, plus Nixon would have federalized Medicaid eliminating today's situation of states that refused to accept additional federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage). Likewise, what if the left wasn't so philosophically opposed to market-based rather than prescription-based regulations in 1988, and especially wasn't opposed to the cleanest major energy source (nuclear) that was avaialable at the time; neither solar nor wind where technologically mature enough in 1990 and there is no amount of money that could have been spent to condense the two to three decades they needed to mature to fit within the 1990s.

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