We’ve got the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, but the environmentalists can’t get any traction in support of more regulation and reduction of energy use, according to The Washington Post this morning:
Environmentalists say they’re trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But historians say they’re facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists’ e-mails.
The difference between now and the awakenings that followed past disasters is as stark as “on versus off,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale University who tracks public opinion on climate change.
“People’s outrage is focused on BP,” Leiserowitz said. The spill “hasn’t been automatically connected to some sense that there’s something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world,” he said.
The story of 2010 is not that nothing happened after the BP spill, or after the coal-mine explosion that killed 29 in West Virginia on April 5. It’s that much of the reaction has focused on preventing accidents — on tighter scrutiny of rigs and mines — rather than broader changes in the use of oil and coal.
In other words, while the general public finds it reasonable and necessary to continue to access and use fossil fuels — and therefore find it reasonable and necessary to figure out how to do so safely — the environmental extremists want to dramatically alter how we use energy. That means raising costs of oil, coal and natural gas so that renewables look like a bargain by comparison.
The truth is, the environoiacs have lost whatever credibility they had after years of false alarms about things like overpopulation, global cooling, and nuclear disaster. Climategate revealed the latest scare tactic, but the Post underplayed it as a reason for the lack of post-gusher eco-passion:
Leiserowitz said there may be distrust of climate science among a small group after the “Climate-gate” scandal last year, in which stolen e-mails seemed to show climate scientists talking about problems in their data. Those scientists have been repeatedly cleared of academic misconduct, including in a report released Wednesday.
Despite what the formerly mainstream media wants you to believe, the Climategate scientists have not been exonerated (if you care about public opinion, at least). Their critics were not consulted (for the most part) and reviews were Wite-Out jobs designed to protect the reputations of their institutions. The investigators like Muir Russell and Geoffrey Boulton were not independent, but chosen from among the Governmental Scientific Academia complex, just like their peer-reviewing pals of the original IPCC climate “studies.”
The environmental pressure groups got used to coddling and catering to their every outcry. It’s getting old.