Republicans don’t know it but their Climate Change Agenda offers humanity a better, more pristine, regenerative, fossil-fuel free future than anything progressives offer. That Agenda not only will make America great again, it could remove everything keeping progressives and conservatives alike from having their way.
Now you may be asking “Huh? What Republican Climate Change Agenda?” If you are, I don’t blame you.
Neither would Republicans, I’m sure. For the Republican’s agenda is so clandestine, so obscure, even they don’t know they have one. And yet, their plan makes more sense than progressive alternatives I’m familiar with.
As with gun control, when it comes to climate change, Republicans aren’t playing around. That’s why their Climate Change Agenda leverages the highest court in the land.
That’s right. The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is where the power lies when Congress won’t act. SCOTUS ruled on important, culture-defining cases this month, including the Roe decision and the Court’s ruling on New York’s handgun law among others. But there’s another case in SCOTUS’ future with far broader and more serious implications.
If the super majority conservative SCOTUS rules the way it has so far this year, this other case will make it way easier for Americans to solve the world’s climate problem. Ironically, that same ruling will also make it easier to get an abortion, even in post-Roe America. And it will make our nation significantly more safe from gun violence and other crime too.
Yes indeed, this case stands at the heart of the Right’s powerful Climate Change Agenda. All Americans would do well knowing about it. And yet the Agenda itself remains so extraordinarily obscure, nearly every Republican simultaneously knows nothing about it, yet plays a role in its unfolding.
Keep the status quo
West Virginia v EPA. That’s the court case central to the Agenda. By many accounts, it stands as the largest and most important case SCOTUS may hear this year. West Virginia v EPA involves a group of Republican attorneys general, representing almost 20 states, whose economies depend on fossil fuels. Their complaint concerns how much power the federal government has to regulate power plant emissions.
West Virginia v EPA goes back to 2014. Back then President Obama promised to do something about climate change. But Republicans resisted his overtures to woo Congress into supporting his plans long enough for the Trump Administration to put an end to Obama’s Climate Action Plan.
Not satisfied with that, Republicans in states dominated by fossil fuels saw Obama’s plan as a harbinger of future initiatives. They feared any future legislation could destroy industries upon which their states’ economies depend. We’re talking about oil, coal and natural gas industries. And if those industries flatlined, Republicans feared, so too would their entire state economies.
The 20 states that joined the suit represent a lot of Americans and a lot of livelihoods. Businesses and industries, entire business sectors, rely on oil, coal and natural gas revenue.
And since politics is a dance, wherein politicians keep their jobs by telling less affluent constituents what’s in their best interest, while actually doing what their affluent constituents want, politicians are more than willing to throw the environment under the bus if doing so keeps rich constituents happy and poor ones ignorant and duped. That translates into: keep the oil, coal and natural gas revenue flowing. Maintain the status quo at all costs.
Back to future harbingers
So when Biden revoked in January 2021 Trump’s kibosh on Obama’s Climate Action Plan, then proffered his own sweeping climate agenda, he both triggered and validated Republican fears.
And even though the Biden administration hasn’t gotten squat done on combating climate change – thanks in large part to Joe Manchin’s machinations and his arguable conflicts of interest – the Republican AGs continue moving their lawsuit forward.
Widespread reporting on West Virginia v EPA says a judgment for the plaintiffs will eliminate any hope of the US reversing climate change. An AG win does much more than that though. It also could significantly reduce the power the Executive Branch enjoys across many more agencies than the EPA. The long arm of this case, if decided the way people fear, could tilt our economic landscape even further in favor of big moneyed interests.
The legal strategy behind this case began many decades ago. It’s well-funded, and equally well-planned according to reports. And, believe it or not, it forms the basis of the Republican Climate Change Agenda, which has been in the works even longer.
The legal strategy attacks what conservative activists call The Administrative State. The term refers to what one podcast describes as a bloated Executive Branch run amok. This branch, the podcast says, “…contains thousands and thousands of unelected people in a wide range of agencies making rule after rule that significantly impacts many lives and the economy.”
Conservative activists believe The Administrative State significantly impacts so many, decisions it makes should be made by the people, i.e. Congress. Not the Executive Branch.
It’s not about climate change…is it?
The problem, of course, is, Congress exists in a state of legislative inertia, a.k.a gridlock. Really important and needed legislation addressing really important and needed decisions – like gun control, climate change and women’s choice, for example – are nearly always dead before they’re even drafted. Politicians are all too willing to go along with their well-heeled funders than actually solve thorny problems. For conservatives, that means keeping things the way they are.
And yet it’s true. Executive Branch agencies DO enjoy broad authority and power. That’s because of something called The Chevron Deference. Because of how SCOTUS ruled on that case (Chevron vs. NRDC), federal agencies can essentially do exactly what the conservatives say. They can use an undemocratic process to set rules and regulations. Rules and regulations impacting millions of people. People who have no direct say in the rule making.
This is why the AGs claim West Virginia v EPA is not about climate change. It’s about whether these agencies should have so much authority. OSHA, the FDA, Health and Human Services and agencies regulating the financial sector are among those agencies wielding such authority.
So West Virginia v EPA is a kind of political neutron bomb. It guts a lot of federal power but keeps the Executive Branch standing. As for climate change, that, the AGs say, should also go through Congress. The problem, is, again, Congress sucks at regulating really hard issues.
Gridlock is good!
Which explains why many think West Virginia v EPA IS about Climate Change. Some say conservatives want the federal government unable to change the way their state power industries do business. Some of these Republicans, according to that aforementioned podcast, dispute climate change science. But others don’t so much dispute the science as they believe such rule making would literally destroy their states’ economies. And they can’t nor won’t let that happen.
That’s the silver lining sewed into West Virginia v EPA that most people probably don’t get. West Virginia v EPA is about preserving the status quo in fossil fuel dependent state economies so those economies continue thriving. The good news is, believe it or not, preserving the fossil fuel industry will make it way easier to solve climate change.
The reason why we can’t solve climate change as quickly and easily as we could is because our economic interests and our environmental interests are diametrically opposed. This is the case with nearly every serious social and political issue. It just costs too much to change the way we currently do things. And when it comes to cost, covering that cost always means doing it with someone else’s money. That “someone else” usually doesn’t like you doing that. Which is why they try legislative or other strategies to keep you out of their pockets.
Republican ignorance masking brilliance
Gun control is an economic problem. Not a gun problem. So is fixing the climate. It’s not an environmental problem. It’s an economic one. Black Lives Matter and fixing institutional racism are economic problems too.
The entire reason we have the US Constitution started with an economic problem. Rich, white, landed men panicked over the possibility of “mob rule” – their term for a government based on majority rule – and thus concocted a complicated framework that preserved and continues preserving their power.
Roe is an economic problem too. In that instance, Republicans weaponized Christian belief so as to secure national power, then use that power to get their way on all the other economic problems. In other words, keeping people out of their pocketbooks.
So fighting “climate change” is the wrong fight. Climate change isn’t the problem. Conservatives aren’t aware of how their economy-preserving arguments against fixing climate change helps educate the rest of us on what the real fight is. And this is the brilliance of their Climate Change Agenda. It will convince the rest of us as to what the real fight is about.
The real fight is getting humanity and the environment on the same side of the fight. We do that by showing people a new way of generating highly prosperous livelihoods that also support a rich and regenerated environment. It’s not one or the other as mutually exclusive options. It’s both options becoming one.
Getting on the same side
This new way must decouple people’s livelihoods from economies adversarial to preserving the environment. The new way must also stop taking money from people’s pockets and putting that money in other people’s pockets. Clearly capitalism facilitates taking other people’s money. But so do socialism and communism.
So the other thing we must show people is a new alternative to these “isms”. One that can put economic interests, people’s interests and environmental interests on the same side of the table. The good news is such a system stands nearly ready to serve that purpose. It’s been through over 50 years of development and, even now, continues evolving into a better way to think about our world.
The great news about Republicans and their Agenda, including their likely success in using SCOTUS to gut Executive Branch power, is it will make us see something we must see. We need to see that decisions we need and freedoms we want will not happen in our current system. But they happen easily in the new system.
The good news for conservatives is, this same system supports their needs too. It frees business to run as it wishes, while reducing to zero operational costs for those business. It eliminates many labor regulations and drops labor costs to zero too. Here’s how that works:
And it shrinks government to the degree that taxes become a thing of the past.
The world gets great for everyone
But while it does all those things it also gives way more freedom to American workers, makes every American richer than they can imagine today, and creates analogues of government agencies that get things done without needing taxes to fund those things or democratic authorization in the form of legislation.
In the process, it also funds and fuels all the things needed to solve climate change without forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Including giving up their hard earned incomes, wealth or wealth-generating assets.
Republicans don’t know it but they offer humanity a better, more pristine, regenerative, fossil-fuel free future than anything progressives offer. Their plan will finally show America’s emperor, Capitalism, stands butt naked. Right along with Communism, Socialism and the other debt-based systems. Discovering this will be painful for a while. But we’re experiencing much of that pain already.
Pain serves a beneficial purpose. It calls attention to something needing attention. Our collective pain does the same. Once we get our attention in the right place we can choose a better way of resource allocation and wealth distribution. Then America will be a better America.
It will be great again, if it ever was. And in the process of making America great, the whole human race, and the planet, will benefit too. Thanks Republicans!