Pelosi's moralizing illumines dark urges of energy politics

April 10, 2017
Nancy Pelosi at least deserves appreciation for illuminating dark urges of energy politics.

Nancy Pelosi at least deserves appreciation for illuminating dark urges of energy politics.

In her weekly press conference on Mar. 30, the US House minority leader summoned fire and brimstone to President Donald Trump's executive order rescinding the Clean Power Plan.

"Shocking-almost sinful, really sinful to be so degrading of God's creation," she preached.

"The administration's attack on science and the Clean Power Plan will not bring back jobs to the coal country. It will only poison our air and undermine America's ability to win good-paying clean jobs of the future."

The California Democrat argues from scientific and moral high ground to which her claim is weak.

Under scientific assumptions undergirding costly climate precautions such as the Clean Power Plan, forcing US power generators to slash emissions of greenhouse gases would have scant effect on global average temperature.

Some scientists think those assumptions overstate warming likely to result from accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But those views don't count as "science" as defined by the climate priesthood dominating public discussion.

Whichever side is right, cancellation of a program able to exert, at best, little influence over global temperature cannot reasonably be characterized as the poisoning of air.

Indeed, resort to hyperbole sabotages Pelosi's invocation of science.

And her theology seems-well, cramped. The creation supposedly degraded by rejection of a single policy encompasses everything.

Everything includes people who need affordable energy. Everything also includes limits on the amount of affordable energy deliverable by high-minded politics and government decree. Laws imposing those limits came with the creation.

What's really "shocking" is a government arrogant enough to try to override physical laws while hiding the costs behind promises of "good-paying clean jobs of the future."

To forestall a product of such deception-a product sure to impose more hardship than it prevents-is no sin.

Energy and climate are consequential and complicated. They deserve to be treated with more than the shopworn moralizing at which Pelosi so obviously excels.

(From the subscription area of, posted Mar. 31, 2017; author's e-mail: [email protected])

About the Author

Bob Tippee | Editor

Bob Tippee has been chief editor of Oil & Gas Journal since January 1999 and a member of the Journal staff since October 1977. Before joining the magazine, he worked as a reporter at the Tulsa World and served for four years as an officer in the US Air Force. A native of St. Louis, he holds a degree in journalism from the University of Tulsa.