In the Arena

On Gore

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Paul Krugman is absolutely right about the mouth-frothing wingnut response to Gore–or, in fact, to any other Democrat who begins to show some traction with the public. And Krugman raises an interesting point here:

The sulfuric acid in America’s lakes mainly comes from coal burned in U.S. power plants, but the carbon dioxide in America’s air comes from coal and oil burned around the planet — and a ton of coal burned in China has the same effect on the future climate as a ton of coal burned here. So dealing with climate change not only requires new taxes or their equivalent; it also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.

Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate.

Here is why that’s interesting: I spent the weekend in New Hampshire watching John McCain describe global warming in just those words. He’s against a carbon tax, natch. But for a cap-and-trade system and for re-entering Kyoto. With any luck, we won’t have to imagine the reaction of his fellow GOPs if McCain steps up and says it in a debate. We’ll be able to see it in all its gory splendor.