Dreams of China

One fight against climate change?

One fight against climate change?

During a recent Republican senatorial debate, Carly Fiorina answered “yes” when asked, “Should any one listed on the no-fly list be allowed to buy a gun?” Here in America, you betcha: A list purporting to deny a terrorist an airline ticket s is no basis for denying a terrorist a gun.

And so, just how weird is it, being a Republican these days? Let’s take a little leap here and dream out loud for a moment: What if the impulse to not pollute was as strong in America as that allowing people to bear arms? Just as California musters historical resolve in leading the country yet again, this time with Assembly Bill 32, the potential Republican leadership—Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, et al.—stands poised to deconstruct that initiative. Aunt Ruth thinks A.B. 32 is one of the few things California has gotten right these last couple of years.

Let yer Auntie dream a little further, and imagine that California was … China. There, the government is investing $100 billion annually in the clean-energy economy. As reported by Wired, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted that “too many times [he’s] heard American businesses justify their environmental inaction by saying that going green would put them at a disadvantage, compared to their environmentally irresponsible Chinese competitors.”

“Those days, [Chu] argues, are long gone. China’s supposed inaction isn’t an excuse, China’s rapid action should be a motivation.”

Not that all is rosy in China, either. The New York Times recently reported that “the country’s surging demand for power from oil and coal has led to the largest six-month increase in the tonnage of human generated greenhouse gases ever by a single country.” China’s response couldn’t be more different than Whitman’s: “Premier Wen Jiabao promised tougher policies to enforce energy conservation, including a ban on government approval of any new projects by companies that failed to eliminate inefficient capacity.”

Aunt Ruth can hear the Republicans squawking already: It would be just like China to “place tougher policies to enforce energy conservation.”

Whatever, says Aunt Ruth. China’s got it right, kids. Climate change: It’s that bad. Then again, perhaps Fiorina and yer Auntie can agree that people on the no-fly list shouldn’t be allowed to buy an SUV. Eh?