“i would politely suggest that you view his ‘accomplishments’ beside his accomplishments in maintaining the status quo of dirty energy in the Oil State.”
Texas oil production has actually tripled within Lamar Smith’s time in office. (And the petroleum industries’ economics have been helped by the low-cost energy dumps from wind power.) So of course he has oil-friendly policies. As you observed, Texas is the Oil State, and Smith represents accordingly. If Smith were to be replaced today, Texans would probably elect someone less moderate (Smith is an old-school Republican) and less informed about science.
“The Republican playbook is full of the Machiavellian enterprise of calculated ‘compromise’.”
Smith does compromise (a lot of Republicans do not) in part because he serves conflicting constituencies. But his energy policies have followed a pretty consistent philosophy. Smith feels energy is important, and also that energy independence is important. He also feels that we are not nearly to the point of being able to slam the door on traditional fossil fuels. But he does feel we ultimately need to get away from them, so he strongly supports research and deployment of low carbon energy, transportation, and efficiency technologies–including tariffs, grants, public funding, and public-private partnerships. He also feels that carbon cap and trade would just create just another financial gimmick market for Wall St. to play with and he’s not far from James Hansen’s view on that. So he supports direct public funding for research and early deployment, but ultimately he feels the best way to get off fossil fuels will be for better options to take their place due to natural market forces.
“Will Lamar’s actual ‘accomplishments’ actually make a dent in our pollution and global climate issues?”
His efficiency requirements and CAFE standards will probably prove helpful. The large expansion of wind and solar he supported has not made a dent yet, but if renewables advocates are right, they will eventually. And if any of the advanced reactor projects he is supporting pan out (and more than one could) that might make a very respectable dent.
“Slagging celebrities doesn’t add to your argument.”
The examples I cited are lionized as climate champions, nevermind Leo and his yacht trips, Leo and Naomi jetting all over the planet, and Lovins’ long track record of failed projections. Meanwhile, all three want to see our dominant form of low-carbon energy abolished, and no further development in that area. To the degree they have any success towards that end, I think their accomplishments could easily wind up a net negative with respect to moving away from fossil energy. I think they have some good intentions, but good intentions can go horribly wrong when decoupled from science and reason–a point with particular salience in an article that unfairly slagged Smith as being “anti-science” (for citing an article in Nature).
“Demonstrating how Lamar’s efforts will significantly reduce pollution and greenhouse gases does.”
That’s an unreasonable standard. Nobody can know the future, and Smith cannot accomplish that on his own. But a reasonable case can be made that his actions have a high likelihood of helping–especially in his role as a Republican. When leftist Klein couples action on climate change with an attack on industrialism, capitalism, and conservatism, she plays to the watermelon stereotype which only deepens the divide and hardens opposition to any policy she’s advocating. When Smith says we need improved efficiency, more low carbon energy, and more alternate energy research, all justified on traditional conservative and market grounds, he helps to unify people around taking action, or at least, he creates that possibility. It’s up to us whether we care more about seizing an opportunity for progress when it presents itself, or flinging poo at someone who could be helpful.