Holman Jenkins quotes my favorite Hemingway story (The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber) and jabs, “Tom Steyer ruined the planet before he offered to save it.”
He wouldn’t be the first to consider himself “passionate” on the subject of global warming without being quite so passionate as to delve into its complexities and ambiguities. But you might at least expect a shrewd latecomer to notice a few things—such as how signally the standard doom-mongering and oil-bashing has failed to move the needle. But then the very clichéd-ness of Mr. Steyer’s adopted patter has been his lever to the overnight visibility and pseudo-influence that he apparently aspires to.
And we do mean pseudo-influence. He vilifies the Koch brothers (“evil persons”), and lobbies universities and foundations to dump their fossil energy holdings, though the only effect is to transfer those holdings to investors like Mr. Steyer’s former hedge fund that are immune to pressure and unwilling to forgo the profits from meeting the world’s wholly non-illusory demand for energy.
Advised by Clintonites John Podesta and Chris Lehane, he would spend millions to drive up the negatives of those candidates (invariably Republican) he would “destroy” (his word). But even if he succeeds in shifting the outcome of one or two close races, it will be because voters are angry at big oil over gas prices, not global warning.
In case he hasn’t noticed, the world is embarked on a multi-decade fossil-energy investment boom. … A true revolution would be a new breed of climate activist who admitted what they didn’t know and toned down their absurd pretense that they’re going to ban or seriously curb fossil fuel by fiat. If they were smart, they would put all their effort into winning government funding for battery research. But there are reasons, quite apart from lack of imagination, which is the nicest explanation of Mr. Steyer’s shrill imposture, that this doesn’t happen.