I agree with some of what James Meigs says in his post at City Journal about the Democratic presidential candidates’ climate change plans and I disagree with some but what I want to focus on in this post is this sentence:
It’s almost as if bringing down carbon emissions isn’t the candidates’ top goal.
Of course it’s not their top goal. Their top goal is to secure their party’s nomination for president. Then the prevailing candidate’s top goal will be to become president.
Something I think that very few people really realize is that everybody has a hierarchy of values. Those candidates are perfectly sincere in their support for reducing carbon emissions but they’re also perfectly sincere in their support for a dozen other goals. Those are their principles. If you don’t like them, they have others.
Those goals are arranged in a priority sequence with the next rung in the process of becoming president the topmost priority. No candidate who puts some other goal above that one can possibly prevail. It’s a lousy system but it’s the one we have.
But things are drastically different than they were when the three leading candidates were young which is now a half century or more ago. They apparently believe that they can leave the excessive promises they’ve made reaching that next rung in the dust as they reach for the next rung. I think they’re wrong but we’ll see.
I do not see how the carbon emissions they’re claiming as their objective can be achieved without embracing nuclear power, making a highly improved energy grid a top priority, and quickly adopting technologies for carbon capture but each of those would lose them votes, i.e. would be at the expense of their prime objective.
The object of power is power.