Last week, David Roberts at Grist coined the phrase “Climate Hawk,” to describe “people who understand climate change and support clean energy but do not share the rest of the ideological and sociocultural commitments that define environmentalism as historically understood in the U.S.”

Of course, a “hawk” in political jargon has long referred to policymakers who are bullish on the use of military might to advance American interests. The national security overtones are meant to impart a seriousness to global warming alarmists otherwise conflated with hippy-dippy granola environmentalists. According to Andrew Leonard at Salon, Roberts’s term is “a brilliant jiujitsu move of rhetorical framing.”

Roberts’s new meme was adopted quickly by the green journo beat. Today, for example, both Joe Romm (of Climate Progress) and Brad Johnson (at the Center for American Progress) refer to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Climate Hawk in the wake of a recent interview he did with Diane Sawyer, in which he said,

“We need to go to Washington and say, “Look what happened. You, because oil companies have spent money against you, they have threatened you, you backed off the energy policy and the environmental policy in Washington.” What wimps. No guts. I mean, here, you idolize and always celebrate the great warriors, our soldiers, our men and women who go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re risking their lives to defend this country, and you’re not even willing to stand up against the oil companies?”

Those are tough words, but are they appropriate? After all, Schwarzenegger hasn’t actually implemented any difficult climate policies. Indeed, AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, doesn’t kick in until after the Governor leaves office. Moreover, Schwarzenegger in 2007 actually tried to delay early action climate policies under AB 32, in order to protect the construction industry, which had been a big donor to his 2006 reelection campaign. What “guts” has the Governator evinced?

Rather than “climate hawk,” a more appropriate bird metaphor for Arnold Schwarzenegger is “Climate Cuckoo.” The Cuckoo is a parasitic bird that lays its eggs in other nests, in order to be reared by other birds. That’s a pretty good parallel for what the California Governor is doing with respect to climate policy. He helped birth a climate law full of sacrifice that his successor will have to shoulder.

Last week’s House Ways & Means Committee hearing on “scientific objectives for climate change legislation” contained much grist for skeptical mills.

Dr. James Hansen did not challenge any of Dr. John Christy’s specific arguments that UN climate models overestimate climate sensitivity. Instead, he advised Congress to ask the National Academy of Sciences for an “authoritative” assessment, because the science is “crystal clear.”

Hansen was quite harsh in criticizing Kyoto (an “abject failure”) and carbon trading (a politically unsustainable hidden tax for the benefit of special interests). He outlined a proposal for what he calls carbon “Tax & Dividend,” whereby 100% of the revenues would be refunded to the American people via monthly deposits to their bank accounts.

As I discuss here, Hansen’s beguiling proposal could decimate coal-based power in a decade or two, pushing electricity prices up faster than dividend payments increase, and saddling the economy with a growth-chilling energy crisis.