Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.
In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."
As most of you know, I am somewhat of a skeptic of anthropogenic global warming. I just believe that the weather on this planet is highly variable and that to believe that humans are the main cause when there is this really big hot star called the sun nearby, well that's just hubris.
However, it appears to me that many are misinterpreting Bill Clinton's remarks. When you look at the compelte quote, the meaning is a little different:
"Everybody knows that global warming is real," Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize, "but we cannot solve it alone."
"And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada -- the rich counties -- would say, 'OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.' We could do that.
"But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.
So it seems that what he is saying is that one way to combat global warming is to slow the economy, but he believe that there is another way to combat global warming that won't slow the economy. Unfortunately, I think he's wrong about that. Every plan I've seen with regard to global warming will have a detrimental effect on economic growth. I don't buy that the government can create green jobs that will offset those lost to the various global warming schemes. Government does not create jobs, entrepeneurs do and if there were profitable ways to exploit green technology without government subsidy, it would be done by the market. Any job created via government subsidy will just divert resources and jobs from the private sector.