I’ve come to depend upon Joe Romm for ideological rigidity and his unwavering faith in his own infallibility. Such commitment provides a useful touchstone in the climate debate. So I have been dismayed to see Romm not just abandon some of his most firmly held views, but sprint in the opposite direction while at the same time lambasting those who would have the gall to espouse views that he only recently held.
Why Romm has made an about-face on cap-and-trade:
Perhaps the real Joe Romm has been kidnapped, and an offset-loving, climate-delayer-eq, fossil fuel drinking replacement has been quietly spirited into his place? A look at the recent flip-flopping by Joe Romm might help us understand the transformation, and with some luck, locate the real Joe Romm and return him to his proper place in the climate debate.
Okay, on to my original post about Romm’s unfailing habit of accusing others of behavior that is actually his stock in trade:
Joe Romm tees off on Breakthrough Institute and journalists
Once again, I can feel the spittle flying out of my computer screen when I read Joe Romm’s latest post taking The Breakthrough Institute to task for questioning the current cap-and-trade legislation now wending its way through Congress — and for journalists who have quoted TBI analysts.
What’s Romm so upset about? Several posts at the Breakthrough Institute blog questioning the capacity of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation for bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. Romm himself once criticized the very same loopholes in Waxman-Markey that he now says are no problem. Fine. Being open to new interpretations and analyses and changing one’s mind is a sign of maturity and intelligence. But so is sticking to debating ideas with respect and civility. And as many readers of CEJournal know, Romm is constitutionally incapable of sticking to ideas and showing respect and civility. (For the Breakthrough Institute’s detailed response to Romm’s post, go here.)
Romm takes most disagreement with his ideas personally. He then lashes out using language that describes nothing other than his own approach. In his post about the Breakthrough Institute, for example, Romm uses the word “attack” ten times: “They attacked President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate plan…” “They attacked Henry Waxman…” “They launched a lengthy attack against Al Gore…” “…they have launched a series of attacks on it — attacks based on misrepresentation and misanalysis.” “TBI has recently written two attacks on Waxman-Markey, “The Flawed Logic of the Cap-and-Trade Debate,” which attacks any effort to significantly raise the price of carbon pollution…” And on and on and on.
Romm doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the words “attack” and “critique.” Shellenberger, Nordhaus and the other authors at The Breaktrhough Institute mostly do the latter — they offer “detailed analysis and assessment.” While Romm certainly is capable of the same, he also wallows in the former.
What a shame. He clearly has much to offer in the way of ideas, analysis and assessment. But he seems to relish the role of the bully more. I wonder what demons he is working out in public on his blog.