All of this means that climate activists should get wise to a central fact: If Pelosi is skeptical of their policies, where do they imagine the rest the country is? Those who believe climate change will become irreversible, uncontrollable and catastrophic in a few years should get to work on their fallout shelters. The E.P.A. won’t be coming to the rescue.
By contrast, those who think climate change is a real but manageable problem would do well to say as much, too. Climate change means change, not doom. It shouldn’t be hard to make the case, even to conservatives, for large-scale investments in climate resilience, such as better coastal defenses. It shouldn’t be hard, either, to make the case even to liberals that dynamic market economies are essential for creating the kind of wealth that makes environmental protections affordable, along with the innovations that make environmental fixes possible.
Pelosi’s seal clap sealed the fate of the Green New Deal. Now it’s time to move climate policy beyond impractical radicalism and feckless virtue-signaling to something that can achieve a plausible, positive and bipartisan result.