June 14, 2019

Making Fossil Fuels Dormant

Brandon Rattiner

Introduction

A 2014 polar bear sighting in Hawaii set environmental politics ablaze. “Hey Polar Bear,” President Obama shouted to Frostpaw the Polar Bear, minutes before finishing a round of golf in Hawaii. Frostpaw is a creation of the Center for Biological Diversity, and it had followed President Obama across the United States for more than a year prior to the presidential shout out. Frostpaw, or more accurately the activist in a polar bear costume, was protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline as part of the burgeoning “Keep It in the Ground” campaign. The almost cartoonish image of a polar bear holding a pipeline protest sign at a Hawaiian golf course is a fitting characterization of how many perceive those advocating to restrict the supply of fossil fuels. Conventional wisdom asserts that restrictive supply-side (RSS) policies are “economically suboptimal and politically counterproductive.” Parties that support RSS policies are usually labeled as naïve, radical, alarmist, and unsophisticated by other advocates.

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