IBD editorial falsely claimed Clinton said that "we must slow the economy to save the earth"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

An Investors' Business Daily editorial falsely asserted that "Bill Clinton says we must slow the economy to save the earth." In fact, Clinton said in the January 30 speech to which the editorial referred that "rich" countries could take that approach, but then he stated why he thought it wouldn't work and asserted that the "only way" to fight global warming is to prove that doing so "is good economics."

A February 1 Investors' Business Daily editorial falsely asserted that "Bill Clinton says we must slow the economy to save the earth." The editorial later cropped comments Clinton made during a January 30 speech to assert that he "put forth his idea of what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do: 'We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save our planet for our grandchildren.' " In fact, Clinton did not say that "slow[ing] down our economy" was "what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do" to fight global warming. Rather, as Clinton's full quote makes clear, he said that "rich" countries could take that approach, but then he stated why he thought it wouldn't work and asserted that the "only way" to fight global warming is to prove that doing so "is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy."

The editorial also stated that "[w]e've been among those who have warned that something along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol would derail the U.S. economy and be a recipe for global poverty. We've never heard anyone advocate an economic slowdown or claiming such an event would actually create jobs." The editorial continued: "Clinton said that 'if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics ... we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren,' " and then commented, "Chelsea, call your father."

But the editorial omitted the part of Clinton's speech where he rejected the idea that "[w]e just have to slow down our economy," because, he said, it would not work:

CLINTON: And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada -- the rich counties [sic] -- would say, "OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren." We could do that. But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

And guess what? The only places in the world today in rich countries where you have rising wages and declining inequality are places that have generated more jobs than rich countries because they made a commitment we didn't. They got serious about a clean, efficient, green, independent energy future... If you want that in America, if you want the millions of jobs that will come from it, if you would like to see a new energy trust fund to finance solar energy and wind energy and biomass and responsible bio-fuels and electric hybrid plug-in vehicles that will soon get 100 miles a gallon, if you want every facility in this country to be made maximally energy efficient that will create millions and millions and millions of jobs, vote for her. She'll give it to you. She's got the right energy plan.

Indeed, even some conservatives have pointed out that Clinton did not say that "we must slow the economy to save the earth." On National Review Online's blog The Corner, Iain Murray wrote that the "we just need to slow down our economy" quote was "plucked from the middle of words that have the opposite meaning."

The editorial's assertion echoed the original title of a January 31 blog post by ABC News' senior national correspondent Jake Tapper: "Bill: 'We just have to slow down our economy' to fight global warming." By 9:30 a.m. ET, Internet gossip Matt Drudge provided a link echoing the ABC News headline. Tapper has since changed the title of his post to read: "What Did Bill Clinton Mean By 'We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy' to Fight Global Warming?"

From the February 1 Investors' Business Daily editorial titled "Slow the Economy? Chill, Bill":

The Environment: As a touted effect of global warming melts under the glare of science, Bill Clinton says we must slow the economy to save the earth. How's that again? Hillary, call your husband.

The argument rages whether Clinton is helping his wife's candidacy with his temper, spontaneous outbursts and bare-knuckle bashing of Hillary's opponent, Barack Obama. At times, the question also has arisen whether the dynamic duo are seeking Hillary's first term as president or Bill's third.

The Hillary war room must have had a restless night as Mr. Bill stumped for his wife in the Super Tuesday state of Colorado last week. As the media panic about a recession and the stock market takes a tumble, he said in Denver something no presidential candidate or staff member of First Husband should say.

In a typically verbose speech, he put forth his idea of what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save our planet for our grandchildren." Sounds like he should cut back on his own.

We've been among those who have warned that something along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol would derail the U.S. economy and be a recipe for global poverty. We've never heard anyone advocate an economic slowdown or claiming such an event would actually create jobs.

Clinton said that "if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics ... we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren." Chelsea, call your father.

Some "green" jobs may be created. But as we've reported, the annual loss for the U.S. from a Kyoto-like agreement could be as high as 2% of GDP. This means today's $11.5 trillion economy would take a $260 billion hit every year, totaling more than $11 trillion by 2050. The costs of complying with Kyoto were estimated by the Clinton Energy Department to be even higher -- at 3% to 4% of GDP annually.

Clinton's sense of urgency to save the planet was not so apparent back when he was renting out the Lincoln Bedroom. As president, and even with Al Gore warning that the Earth hung in the balance, he never submitted the original Kyoto pact for ratification.

Posted In
Economy, Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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