I have a feeling that Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement may put Obama over the top; if so I’m cheered the mayor made global warming the decisive criteria. The movement conservative indifference to global warming, and to environmental concerns generally, has long puzzled me. I remember contributing to a symposium of “young conservatives” for National Review in the mid ’90s (yes, it was a stretch then) and arguing that that one thing American conservatives ought to want to “conserve” was a temperate climate, which had favored America and was the basis of much of American poetry and, indeed, culture. I probably had then, and still do, a bias in favor of northern climates and the societies they produced; I preferred the culture of New England to Mississippi, Scotland to Morocco. One can argue about it.
Of course then the extreme storms stirred up by global warming were only predicted, and were only beginning to arrive. But no one was putting a dollars and cents cost to climate change. As I recall, to the extent movement conservatives thought about it all, they considered it a groovy opportunity to showcase capitalism’s infinite adaptability, and Americans could become rich by growing more citrus fruit. Heather Mac Donald, at least, responded warmly and supportively to my NR piece, and we became friends, an environmentalist caucus of two in the New York conservative world.
In any case, if there’s any doubt about the matter, Bloomberg will be available after next year for a major cabinet position. He is a pretty extraordinary public servant, respected by virtually everyone in New York, if not beloved the way some of his predecessors were. He is sometimes courageous, as when he stood up to the “ground zero mosque” BS, as every other elected official headed for the hills. And he’s brilliant. I know there isn’t such thing as “Secretary of the Climate”–but if Obama is looking to appoint a “czar” to really explore what is possible and what is doable, domestically and internationally, to mitigate man-induced global warming and climate change, I doubt there is a better person available.