Chris Hayes: In a way, abolishing global warming is like abolishing slavery

Via RCP, he doesn’t mean morally. He’s quick to say that there’s no moral comparison between them; even on MSNBC, there are evils worse than climate change. He means they’re logistically similar: The only precedent for convincing powerful interests to disgorge themselves of trillions of dollars of wealth for the greater good is the end of slavery, a process which involved more than “convincing.” It’s interesting watching this after spending two months watching Putin kick off Cold War II in Ukraine. Russia in particular would lose lots of wealth if fossil fuels became verboten. Per some analyses, because parts of it are so frigid, Russia also might actually benefit as its climate warms. Given all that, how willing will Czar Vladimir and his successors be, do you suppose, to shift to green energy in territories under their direct or indirect control? How about in the Middle East, an area of great population growth? How willing will global fossil-fuel interests and their many political cronies be? How should we go about “convincing” them?

We could focus on the demand side, choking off consumption of fossil fuels, but transitioning entire national economies to a clean-energy standard will be a gradual process and — I thought — we’re already basically out of time. Now we need to start building climate-controlled cities or whatever and hunker down. But there’s a potential silver lining in that for Hayes and company: As conservatives learned long ago when it comes to entitlements and unsustainable debt, there is and will be no consensus for action until the crisis is so severe that there’s no other option. Fiscal cons will never get a hearing on Medicare until America literally can’t make the payments for grandma anymore. Maybe warmists are doomed to the same fate, where “abolitionism” catches on only after the seas have risen 20 feet. And if the sea levels don’t end up rising much, no worries — in a few decades we’ll be on to an entirely different environmental panic. Malthusian ones are my favorites.