Opinion | Why Republicans Turned Against the Environment – The New York Times

,    Opinion Columnist

“In 1990 Congress passed an amendment to the Clean Air Act of 1970, among other things taking action against acid rain, urban smog and ozone.

The legislation was highly successful, greatly reducing pollution at far lower cost than business interest groups had predicted. I sometimes see people trying to use acid rain as an example of environmental alarmism — hey, it was a big issue in the 1980s, but now hardly anyone talks about it. But the reason we don’t talk about it is that policy largely solved the problem.

What’s really striking from today’s perspective, however, is the fact that the 1990 legislation passed Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities. Among those voting Yea was a first-term senator from Kentucky named Mitch McConnell.

That was then. This is now: The Inflation Reduction Act — which, despite its name, is mainly a climate bill with a side helping of health reform — didn’t receive a single Republican vote. Now, the I.R.A. isn’t a leftist plan to insert Big Government into everyone’s lives: It doesn’t coerce Americans into going green; it relies on subsidies to promote low-emission technologies, probably creating many new jobs. So why the scorched-earth G.O.P. opposition?

The immediate answer is that the Republican Party has turned strongly anti-environmental over time. But why?”

“. . . . .  What has happened, I’d argue, is that environmental policy has been caught up in the culture war — which is, in turn, largely driven by issues of race and ethnicity. This, I suspect, is why the partisan divide on the environment widened so much after America elected its first Black president.

One especially notable aspect of The Times’s investigative report on state treasurers’ punishing corporations seeking to limit greenhouse gas emissions is the way these officials condemn such corporations as “woke.”

Wokeness normally means talking about racial and social justice. On the right — which is increasingly defined by attempts to limit the rights of Americans who aren’t straight white Christians — it has become a term of abuse. Teaching students about the role of racism in American history is bad because it’s woke. But so, apparently, are many other things, like Cracker Barrel offering meatless sausage and being concerned about climate change.”

David Lindsay: As one commenter pointed out, 2008, the year Krugman picks, is also the year Barak Obama became the first black president of the United States. The backlash continues.

“Barack Obama’s tenure as the 44th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 2009, and ended on January 20, 2017. A Democrat from Illinois, Obama took office following a decisive victory over Republican nominee John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.” Wikipedia

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