Of Heat, Hydrogen and the “Environmental” Argument

Ezra Klein has posted a sensible response to Matthew Yglesias’ claim that “liberals” should stick to the “environmental argument” in addressing oil supply and use, and leave the foreign policy and security issues well enough along (note: I’m reading this second part into Yglesias’ argument, though I don’t think it’s a stretch). I agree with Ezra that Matt’s drawing of a direct connection between the environmental aspects of oil dependence are tenuous; more importantly, I really think they demonstrate a “one-size-fits-all” mentality that’s gotten us into this mess in the first place. Obviously, we should never let up on the environmental degradation created by burning oil, but we should also point to elements of foreign policy and security, as well as potential for economic development and jobs that R&D in alternative energy creates. The right continues to stomp progressives on the practice of “creating a positive picture of the future,” and I’m not sure that we’ve got a better card to play in this arena than sustainable development. And we certainly don’t want the right to start offering the more complex argument!

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