Brulle: “By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action.”

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"Brulle: “By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action.”"

Bristol

In his State of the Union speech, Obama called for a big boost in low-carbon energy, but didn’t mention carbon, climate or warming, as I noted last night.  Other people noticed, too.

Matthew Hope, a researcher in American politics at the University of Bristol, found that Obama has mentioned ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ or the ‘environment’ fewer times on average than his two predecessors, as an article today by the UK’s Guardian notes.  That piece, which quotes my post, also quotes Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, “an expert on environmental communications,” saying Obama’s “approach has several major drawbacks.”  I asked Brulle for all of his thoughts on Hope’s key word analysis and Obama’s speech.

Brulle has a lot to say that is worth reading.  Here it is:

From a political viewpoint, it is clear that Obama is not talking about climate change. The analysis based on key word counts is interesting, but not definitive. The idea that both Clinton and Bush are more “green” than Obama cannot be maintained from just a key word analysis. With all of the Obama administrations faults, this administration has done more than either Clinton or Bush in actually implementing regulations and standards to encourage actions to reduce GHG emissions.

What I see going on here is that Obama is following the rhetorical advice of David Axelrod and groups like ecoAmerica, who argue that the American public is unwilling to deal with climate change.  [See Messaging 101b: EcoAmerica's phrase 'our deteriorating atmosphere' isn't going to replace 'global warming' "” and that's a good thing].

So rather than make the case for climate change and the necessity of action, this approach focuses on “clean” energy and research and development as a way to make a transition to a different energy mix. This is considered the popular, no pain, “energy quest” approach that relies on a mystical belief in R&D to address climate change. The Obama administration appears to have bought this approach completely as the politically popular way to address this issue. In my opinion, this approach has several major drawbacks, and effectively locks in massive and potentially catastrophic global climate change.

1. It ignores the reality of GHG concentrations and their effects: Many climate scientists think we are perilously close to, if not beyond CO2 concentrations that will drive irreversible feedback effects. Taking a technology only approach, without meaningful mechanisms to drive adoption of renewable energy, means further delay in initiating the massive GHG reductions that are needed to deal with climate change. The results of increased R&D on transformation of GHG emissions from electricity production are decades off. By then, the critical thresholds of CO2 concentrations necessary to initiate feedback effects will have been passed, and any measures implemented then will be too little and too late to avoid catastrophic climate change.

2. It fails to address climate change in a meaningful way: There are four parts to this point:

  • Its focus on electricity production only addresses about 34% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It does nothing to address the other 2/3 of GHG emissions.
  • Calls for transformation of the electrical system to 80% clean energy by 2035 ignores several major logistical challenges, including sunk costs in existing power plants, the infeasibility of CCS technology, absence of scalable and commercially available energy technologies with lower prices than existing fossil fuels, and lack of industrial capacity to build that much new energy systems in that short of time.
  • It failure to provide a cost mechanism or regulatory requirement to drive this transition. As the IPCC and NRC Report “America’s Choices” analyses of mitigation make clear, without a strict legal requirement or cost on GHG emissions, the development of renewable energy systems will not occur at the needed scale.
  • It ignores other mechanisms to reduce energy use: There are several means available to address GHG emissions that do not require additional energy R&D, such as building and transport energy efficiency measures.  See The World Development Report for 2010 by the World Bank (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWDR2010/Resources/5287678-1226014527953/WDR10-Full-Text.pdf — The graph on P 207 is especially good). By committing to an R&D approach only, without addressing readily available options to reduce GHG, the Obama administration is taking a politically popular but ineffective approach.

3. The rationale for energy transformation is absent: The Obama approach fails to provide any rationale for the need to transform our energy system to “clean” (whatever that means) energy systems. If we give the administration the benefit of doubt, and assume this means renewable energy, this implies a need to pay more for energy. Why do we need to do this? Coal is cheap and plentiful, and does not entail national security concerns. The reasoning for the need for the transformation is unstated. That is because the Obama administration cannot bear to say the words Climate Change. The only real reason to transform our energy systems is to address GHG emissions. But by failing to even acknowledge the threat posed by climate change, the reasoning for an energy transformation is very thin.

4. This rhetorical approach fails to build a consensus to address climate change: The Obama rhetorical approach is both intellectually dishonest and short sighted. Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to human populations around the world. Yet this threat is completely ignored, and the public is given a thin and uncompelling rationale for transformation of energy systems. As numerous analyses have shown (IPCC and NRC), a real approach to effectively dealing with GHG emissions will require substantial transformations of both our economic and energy systems. This will involve the implementation of politically unpopular actions, such as a carbon tax. Rather than attempting to start the process to build a public consensus to undertake these meaningful actions, the Obama administration has adopted the short term strategy to gain political advantage by advocating a popular but ineffective approach to dealing with climate change. Thus this rhetorical approach continues to maintain the cultural delusion that we can continue business as usual, and that climate change does not require substantial and politically painful actions. While this strategy might prove to be advantageous in the short term, it just delays the inevitable necessary actions, and saddles future administrations and generations with a heavy political, economic, and environmental burden.

Sorry about being so long in my response, but I think this sort of approach is just kicking the can down the road to the next administrations, and really fails to meaningfully address climate change. I only hope that the climate scientists’ projections are wrong, and that we have more time to deal with climate change than they think. It is clear that meaningful climate change legislation is dead in the U.S. for the next several years, and apparently Obama is unwilling to make the case for action if he is reelected in 2012. By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action. It really appears to me that the issue of climate change is not going to play an important role in the 2012 election debate, and that even if Obama wins, he will have built NO mandate for action in this area. Will it be too late in 2016 to take meaningful action on climate change? I fear so and hope not.

I mostly agree.  I do think climate change may play a role in 2012 simply because the GOP candidate will have to toe an extremist anti-science, pro-pollution line.  But I agree that if Obama doesn’t put climate on the agenda rhetorically in a serious way, it’s hard to see how he would have any mandate whatsoever if he wins a second term.

I’ll repeat my main conclusion from last night:  Given that the President’s major energy investment proposals are DOA “” and that the low-carbon standard really only makes sense as a major policy initiative in the world that is trying to reduce carbon emissions “” I do continue to think that it is both pointless and foolish, catastrophically so, in fact, for him to refuse to talk about global warming or climate change with so much of America watching.

Related Posts:

. From a political viewpoint, it is clear that Obama is not talking about climate change. The analysis based on key word counts is interesting, but not definitive. The idea that both Clinton and Bush are more “green” than Obama cannot be maintained from just a key word analysis. With all of the Obama administrations faults, this administration has done more than either Clinton or Bush in actually implementing regulations and standards to encourage actions to reduce GHG emissions.

What I see going on here is that Obama is following the rhetorical advice of ecoAmerica and the Breakthrough Institute. Both of these groups argue that the American public is unwilling to deal with climate change and is opposed to significant changes (such as a carbon tax) in energy policy. (See this web page for an analysis of the approach advocated by ecoAmerica: http://www.americathebest.org/home.html ). A more formal statement of this approach is found in the Hartwell Paper (http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2821-2010.15.pdf ).

So rather than make the case for climate change and the necessity of action, this approach focuses on “clean” energy and research and development as a way to make a transition to a different energy mix. This is considered the popular, no pain, “energy quest” approach that relies on a mystical belief in R&D to address climate change. The Obama administration appears to have bought this approach completely as the politically popular way to address this issue. In my opinion, this approach has several major drawbacks, and effectively locks in massive and potentially catastrophic global climate change.

1. It ignores the reality of GHG concentrations and their effects: Many climate scientists think we are perilously close to, if not beyond CO2 concentrations that will drive irreversible feedback effects. Taking a technology only approach, without meaningful mechanisms to drive adoption of renewable energy, means further delay in initiating the massive GHG reductions that are needed to deal with climate change. The results of increased R&D on transformation of GHG emissions from electricity production are decades off. By then, the critical thresholds of CO2 concentrations necessary to initiate feedback effects will have been passed, and any measures implemented then will be too little and too late to avoid catastrophic climate change.

2. It fails to address climate change in a meaningful way: There are four parts to this point:

a. Its focus on electricity production only addresses about 34% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It does nothing to address the other 2/3 of GHG emissions.

b. Calls for transformation of the electrical system to 85% clean energy by 2035 ignores several major logistical challenges, including sunk costs in existing power plants, the infeasibility of CCS technology, absence of scalable and commercially available energy technologies with lower prices than existing fossil fuels, and lack of industrial capacity to build that much new energy systems in that short of time.

c. It failure to provide a cost mechanism or regulatory requirement to drive this transition. As the IPCC and NRC Report “America’s Choices” analyses of mitigation make clear, without a strict legal requirement or cost on GHG emissions, the development of renewable energy systems will not occur at the needed scale.

d. It ignores other mechanisms to reduce energy use: There are several means available to address GHG emissions that do not require additional energy R&D, such as building and transport energy efficiency measures. (See The World Development Report for 2010 by the World Bank (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWDR2010/Resources/5287678-1226014527953/WDR10-Full-Text.pdf The graph on P 207 is especially good). By committing to an R&D approach only, without addressing readily available options to reduce GHG, the Obama administration is taking a politically popular but ineffective approach.

3. The rationale for energy transformation is absent: The Obama approach fails to provide any rationale for the need to transform our energy system to “clean” (whatever that means) energy systems. If we give the administration the benefit of doubt, and assume this means renewable energy, this implies a need to pay more for energy. Why do we need to do this? Coal is cheap and plentiful, and does not entail national security concerns. The reasoning for the need for the transformation is unstated. That is because the Obama administration cannot bear to say the words Climate Change. The only real reason to transform our energy systems is to address GHG emissions. But by failing to even acknowledge the threat posed by climate change, the reasoning for an energy transformation is very thin.

4. This rhetorical approach fails to build a consensus to address climate change: The Obama rhetorical approach is both intellectually dishonest and short sighted. Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to human populations around the world. Yet this threat is completely ignored, and the public is given a thin and uncompelling rationale for transformation of energy systems. As numerous analyses have shown (IPCC and NRC), a real approach to effectively dealing with GHG emissions will require substantial transformations of both our economic and energy systems. This will involve the implementation of politically unpopular actions, such as a carbon tax. Rather than attempting to start the process to build a public consensus to undertake these meaningful actions, the Obama administration has adopted the short term strategy to gain political advantage by advocating a popular but ineffective approach to dealing with climate change. Thus this rhetorical approach continues to maintain the cultural delusion that we can continue business as usual, and that climate change does not require substantial and politically painful actions. While this strategy might prove to be advantageous in the short term, it just delays the inevitable necessary actions, and saddles future administrations and generations with a heavy political, economic, and environmental burden.

Sorry about being so long in my response, but I think this sort of approach is just kicking the can down the road to the next administrations, and really fails to meaningfully address climate change. I only hope that the climate scientist’s projections are wrong, and that we have more time to deal with climate change than they think. It is clear that meaningful climate change legislation is dead in the U.S. for the next several years, and apparently Obama is unwilling to make the case for action if he is reelected in 2012. By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action. It really appears to me that the issue of climate change is not going to play an important role in the 2012 election debate, and that even if Obama wins, he will have built NO mandate for action in this area. Will it be too late in 2016 to take meaningful action on climate change? I fear so and hope not.

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74 Responses to Brulle: “By failing to even rhetorically address climate change, Obama is mortgaging our future and further delaying the necessary work to build a political consensus for real action.”

  1. Thanks Joe – that graph is powerful.

    It is dangerous for our leader to exhibit such psychological/political denial. We deserve more than a token mention of the danger that both the CIA and the military call our greatest threat.

    The message the SOTU sent was the Presidency will form no part of a solution. He will barely recognize the problem.

    Message received.

  2. L. Carey says:

    Joe, thanks to you and to Prof. Brulle for this analysis. How can a bunch of really, really smart people conclude that the best strategy here is pushing for big energy changes of significant cost without ever explaining WHY we would want to do that????? And CCS (aka pixie dust) and natural gas are “clean” energy??? Agree with Richard Pauli – Obama is taking a pass on the climate problem. Any point in trying to form a bi-partisan Climate Party?

  3. Raul M. says:

    Don’t know where he said that there is no
    problem.
    Carter though, seemed to have faith but
    no reelection and we went from fast
    action on gas improvements for cars
    to no problem let’s just go get some
    of that oil with Raygun. Not looking
    for such a repeat of failed policy.

  4. Dano says:

    Obama isn’t in denial by not mentioning climate change. He has enough powerful enemies – on top of those who resent a black man as President – without engaging in an industry that has spent countless millions in a Big Tobacco-like campaign. I’m certain tobacco has a same history of non-mention. He is merely a politician trying to get things done. Rocking the boat will send cargo overboard.

    That said, we have a voting majority and can pass legislation. Political will – everywhere – is lacking. Welcome to the human condition. One day something will happen.

    Best,

    D

  5. paulm says:

    I really think that ‘pressure’ needs to be put on Ms Obama.

    It seems like other avenues are just not reaching Obama on this issue.

    The guy is smart. He has all the info and scientist right there at his finger tips.
    What the heck is he thinking?

    Geez he even has 2 young kids…..

  6. paulm says:

    Hey, Obama, did your see this….can you start to take this issue seriously?

    Pakistan malnutrition crisis
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/27/3122745.htm

    The United Nations Children’s Fund says malnutrition rates have reached alarming levels in areas hit by last year’s floods in southern Pakistan.

    UNICEF says up to 23 per cent of children in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh are suffering from malnutrition.

    The rates are higher than the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation.

    UNICEF says hundreds of thousands of children in areas devastated by floods in August last year are at risk.

  7. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I understand wanting to put pressure on Obama to take on this issue but I hope people realize that he also needs to be able to actually accomplish something rather than just make noise about it. We all know the state of public opinion and the political pressure against doing anything on climate change.

    He’s taking on all the issues we want him to take on. More electric cars. Take subsidies away from oil companies. Bring the US up to 80% clean energy by 2035. Let me say the last one again… 80% by 2035!!

    If he comes out in the SOTU going off on climate change then he’s going to lose his capacity to actually push these things through… the things that actually address climate change!

    Read between the lines. He’s on our side. He’s doing the things we want him to do. Give him the room to succeed! Let’s support him so that he CAN succeed.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    How many premature deaths from burning coal each year?

    If coal users had to pay the full cost of the externalities they impose upon us (and the environment) the advantage would quickly pass to the so-called clean energy solutions.

  9. paulm says:

    7 Rob, I hope your right…

  10. climate undergrad says:

    I have to second Rob. And to continue reading between the lines, President Obama could not have done more to elevate science and the scientific profession.

    “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.”

    It borders on beautifully subtle.

    Instead of using the term ‘climate change’ and making the speech pundit-talking-point-tri-syllable-friendly, President Obama promotes clean energy innovation, asks for a specific 80% policy target, throws in “protects our planet,”praises science AND scientists, pleads the youth to become science teachers, and specifically highlights the achievements of NASA.

    Moreover, he delivers China as our competitor and sets clean energy initiatives as how we will judge the winner (largest solar, fastest computer), but reminds us who’s still got the head start (best colleges, most productive workers, google, facebook (ha)).

    On some level, everyone knows he’s talking about climate change.

    If Friedman’s “technology” hubs take, and States get to ‘race to the top’ for renewable energy standards, this could be a blessing of a 2011-2012. And what’s 2012 supposed to be like James Hanson? (really hot) hmm….

    I happen think the President is a climate hawk.

    -Optimist

  11. Rob Honeycutt says:

    paulm… I really think I am right on this. Clinton played the same game that Obama is playing now. Let the right go further right, and we take the middle. Clinton got a ton accomplished in his 8 years. Obama got a ton accomplished in his first two years. We’ve got an ugly two years coming up with so many tea party loons in power. But when they LOSE in 2012 (and they will) Obama will be well positioned to take on even more.

    I think we ain’t seen nothing yet.

  12. Mike says:

    Here is another take on O’s talk from MIT’s Tech Review:

    Obama Swaps Cap-and-Trade for a Clean-Energy Goal
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/30529/

  13. with the doves says:

    Rob @ 7 – He’s not going to be able to push those things through anyway.

    And what does it mean, push through 80 percent clean energy by 2035 anyway? He won’t be president then. That’s over 20 years away. Even if some program is started now, it does nothing to guarantee the future. Viewed cynically, promises of things in 2035 that one can’t deliver on are a way to avoid accountability. And what do they mean by “clean energy” anyway.

    The best way to see that our nation makes strides by 2035, 2025, 2015 or whatever is to get the people focused.

  14. dp says:

    i see a need to depoliticize carbon, depoliticize resource flows. a 100% far right country would still have to go green; no war can secure natural stocks that are in planet-wide decline.

    fat lot of good invading iraq did to keep oil prices down, eh?

  15. Jeff Huggins says:

    Great Post, and I Mostly Agree, But Also …

    I agree with most of the post, and with most of what Joe has added, except that I’d add one thing.

    The issue of climate change WILL be a big issue in the upcoming (2012) election, so President Obama will have to decide to fish or cut bait, because a sizable enough chunk of normally Democratic voters should, and I believe will, support another (third party?) candidate, or simply not vote, and thus withdraw their support for Obama, if he does not Seriously Commit and Promise (this time) to forcefully address the problem. In other words, I will not vote for him IF he does not DEMONSTRATE (not merely say) that he will forcefully address climate change, that he has a concrete plan to do so, and that he will do so. Put another way, I refuse to be fooled again, and I’m feeling deeply disappointed at this point. There are still months and months between now and then, and I’m hoping that President Obama will change his stance and his approach, but IF he doesn’t (and that’s his choice) I will not support him, and I believe that many other folks will not support him — enough folks that could make the difference.

    I think we — the electorate — are being foolish IF we let the Administration think, even for an instant, that it can get reelected without Deeply Committing to Genuinely Address Climate Change. We will get only what we expect and demand and require, and we’re unlikely to get more, so we must expect and demand and Require Action. In other words, IF President Obama doesn’t change course on climate change and get much tougher and more effective, we shouldn’t let ourselves end up with a choice between Repubs and the President. We (the Democratic party) should MAKE IT a defining political issue WITHIN the Democratic party, such that factions of the party will simply not vote for any candidate who does not demonstrate that he (or she) will genuinely address the issue, forcefully and effectively.

    I am fed up with having low expectations and then having even those low expectations under-fulfilled by candidates that promise to do better but don’t. Life is too short for that. No more! If I’m to vote for a candidate next time, he (or she) will have to demonstrate that he (or she) will address climate change and is fully capable of doing so. I’m raising my expectations, and I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t convince me that he or she will meet them.

    I am deeply disappointed in the “advice” that President Obama is apparently getting. If he continues to follow that sort of advice, he shouldn’t count on my support.

    Jeff

  16. Roger says:

    OK. Let’s admit it: Climate science is complex, and citizens must have it explained to them very clearly and very simply. (Even then, we can only hope to ‘reach’ a fraction.)

    Obama needs to become the supreme educator-in-chief, devoting an entire hour or more solely to climate change in a prime time, nationally televised “State of the Climate Address,” with Nobel scientists behind him vigorously nodding in urgent agreement.

    If voters knew the whole story they’d want to act now–wondering why they weren’t so forcefully informed about it by their leaders many years ago. Who hasn’t learned that when you’re in deep trouble it is invariable better to admit it sooner rather than later?

    Obama should have committed to making such a speech last night. I know that he’s in a political pickle, but let’s remember what’s at stake. If we don’t act soon, the evidence tells me that there could soon be serious food problems right here in River City—not just far away in OutOfSightOutOfMindLand. (And I don’t mean to make light of suffering!)

    Will the recent emergence of climate news in the MSM give Obama the courage to act? I truly hope so, for all our sakes. We may be doomed if he do, and doomed if he don’t, but I, for one, would rather go out fighting for our lives, together, rather than slowly twisting in the winds of ignorance, then hearing a hundred million voices say, “WHY, why didn’t they TELL us?”

    As famed biologist E.O. Wilson responded to me following a lecture at Harvard last year, “Climate change is the mother of all problems.” The fact that it isn’t even mentioned in the POTUS’s SOTUA just shows how far into the proverbial Venus Fly Trap we are. (Caution: sensitive VFT trigger hair just ahead!) Yes, God bless us, every one.

    More snow coming and nowhere to put it. But, what the heck! We’ve still–so far–got breathable air, drinkable water, edible food, warm clothing, heat, and a roof overhead.

    With heartfelt prayers for those who don’t,
    Roger

  17. Peter M says:

    Considering the extreme weather conditions we have here in southern New England again- whiteout conditions, over another foot of snow. It seems as if Hansen’s ‘loaded Dice’ theory with increased warming is producing extreme bizarre conditions as he predicted.

    This is serious stuff readers-what’s next? Obama must realize we are in real trouble at this point. These kind of events are proliferating globally- its only a matter of time where the economy and society begin to break down.

    As Hansen has said, this amount of C02- which is rising rapidly is a toxic cocktail for the planets atmosphere.

  18. Bruce Post says:

    I believe that this statement, while accurate, is incomplete: “The Obama rhetorical approach is both intellectually dishonest and short sighted.”
    I also believe that it is immoral.

    As a lay theologian, I lament that our religious institutions provide so little guidance and existential reflection on climate disruption, apart from some scattered nice papers. Yet, to me, the destruction of our environment has fundamental moral implications, and it is more than just intellectually dishonest and short sighted. And, for those who suggest that a politician should leave God out of the SOTU, read his closing line: “God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.”

    I also like David Benson’s observations: “If coal users had to pay the full cost of the externalities they impose upon us (and the environment) the advantage would quickly pass to the so-called clean energy solutions.”

    Most folks generally do not understand the implications of externalities as a theory, but they can appreciate them when an external dis-economy comes along and bites them in the butt. For instance, mountain top removal may be a wonderful external economy for Massey Energy Company, but for the people who live in the hollows and valleys nearby, Massey’s external gain is their external pain in terms of pollution, run-off and health issues. Maybe we should indeed begin pricing out externalities on a regular basis.

  19. Lewis says:

    It seems to me the basest of hypocrisies to push science education and the lauding of scientists while at the same time essentially ignoring their dire warnings.

  20. NeilT says:

    I only take one part from Brulle which is valid to the situation and highly important.

    “With all of the Obama administrations faults, this administration has done more than either Clinton or Bush in actually implementing regulations and standards to encourage actions to reduce GHG emissions.”

    Which amounts to the reality that the Obama administration, in the face of serious opposition, has actually achieved something.

    The Climate lobby, on the other hand, has only managed to get itself made a laughing stock and branded as a bunch of left wing liars on the hardcore right wing press.

    In my estimation it is the inability of the climate lobby to cleanly articulate to the voter in the street, the right here, right now, up front issue of climate change; which has completely bound the hands of Obama.

    He can’t lead and fight a battle which is already lost.

    Time and time again, on this very forum, I have seen the phrase “we have lost the argument, we must prepare for the impact in the future”. That statement goes almost totally unopposed. Which, to my mind, means that it is pretty much universally accepted.

    How, then, can you suddenly expect a man, for whom Climate Change and the environment is only one part of his tenure, to stand up and promote a lost cause, win a lost argument and make the case that the entire climate lobby has been unable to do; all in one speech?

    Be realistic. He can only lead where people are open to leadership.

    This situation will change over the next 4-5 years. Attitudes will change, the press will, again, come back to understanding that Climate Change is a threat we cannot ignore without severe peril to our society.

    Then and only then, can a president hope to stand up against the massed money, power and influence of the people who benefit by the very actions which are damaging our climate.

    What good does it do if the very man you want to champion your cause is on the lecture circuit making a small fortune whilst your country is being run by a bunch of certifiable lunatics hell bent on making as much money and power as possible out of your own misery.

    I understand the anger. I understand the feelings. I understand the wishes.

    I do not and cannot understand the logic which is driving everyone to make a president, who is actually Doing what you want, lose the next election!

    [JR: Because we lack the time for another 6 years of minimal results -- and no global deal is possible without a U.S. commitment. Most Americans support explicit action on GHG reduction -- talking about climate won't cost him votes, but not talking about it might (and, as Brulle says, is self-destructive).]

    Pray tell. Please.

  21. Steve H says:

    Essentially, the general public has lost its prime to be motivated by climate change, and to not have a visceral negative reaction to a politician using it as an excuse to raise their energy costs. Now, you, I, and everyone else realize that is not quite true, but many people do not. We have had years of reporting on the minutia of errors in climate science. And, as we’ve seen this week, a fundamental shift seems to have occurred with our major news organizations and their reporting of this winter’s weather pattern. My father was able to understand what was happening, even. So, perhaps, the public is regaining their prime, and, we can hope, our President will be able to more forcefully address climate change in next year’s address. But he won’t be able to do that if he does not start taking baby steps now, in a manner that will not be too shocking for most Americans while avoiding the loss of their attention to the matter.

  22. BBHY says:

    I mostly agree with this post, however Dr. Brulle is in error on this point: “It ignores other mechanisms to reduce energy use: There are several means available to address GHG emissions that do not require additional energy R&D, such as building and transport energy efficiency measures.”

    Did Obama not raise the CAFE standard and talk about putting a million electric cars on the road? To me those count as “transport energy efficiency measures”

  23. John McCormick says:

    RE # 20

    NeilT, you speak the truth and wisdom.

    After reading enough of the criticisms of President Obama, they begin to sound like Palin: “So, how’s that hopey, changey thing working for you.”

    I have lobbied for enviro groups on Capitol Hill for nearly 40 years. I have some working knowledge of what a President can and cannot do with a Congress of antagonists, detractors, marginal seats having won their last election by hundreds or maybe a few thousand votes and reelections costs going from the tens of thousands of dollars in the 70s to millions today.

    That all said, ours is not an empire and as a republic we elect 535 people to speak for us and one person to enforce the laws, keep the ship afloat, sign the checks and provide national security.

    So, the Executive offers up a budget and any legislative initiatives that are needed but the Legislative Branch has many options, including ignoring the President (and not necessarily at their peril). Legislation goes to the floor of the House and Senate not at the will of the Executive but at the pleasure of the majority parties in the House and Senate. Their agenda and political goals determine the fate of any legislation and the will of the people is becoming less and less a factor in their decisions to move or not move a bill.

    Individual legislators have to decide how to vote and their skill levels and time may not be up to that needed to make a reasoned decision. So, they rely upon influence peddlers and their party’s leadership to convince them. As we know, lobbyists bring money and party leaders bring threats of reprisal. It’s that simple. On rare occasions, a party member will go against their party leader, even their president and that is political courage that comes with a price…loss of standing in the party, being ostracized, cut off from campaign contributions and support from the party. Some take that step. Most wont.

    What is the Executive to do? He can pull out a military base from the disloyal and not much more. There is a separation of those powers.

    We may believe a majority of Americans want action on climate change but when asked to rank the major concerns, climate change is not up there even when Pew Trusts does the polling.

    We don’t know how many votes can be assured by either party on any amendment or bill being debated on the floor. That is secret information but obviously people talk and the word gets out that the measure has no chance. So, marginal seats beg not to have to vote for some thing that will be defeated or filibustered.

    Falling on one’s sword is not a popular instinct among politicians, especially when they know it is a futile gesture and will add a few million more to campaigns they will possibly lose. And, why do they feel that way? Because, they are front line witness to how polarized we electors have become. You and me and any one who wants a climate change fix have to see the burden is not on the President. It is upon we voters to send people to Congress who agree with us.

    The complainers should pend a few hours reviewing what the President has accomplished in his first term by using executive orders, making appointments and nominations, negotiating with foreign powers, keeping order in the streets and managing the cash flow.

    Good Lord, imagine his first ninety days and the calamity he had to deal with. Two wars, a near loss of the auto industry and the millions of jobs that would be lost, a collapsing stock market, massive layoffs and the Bush deficit and all the while he was trying to find his way to the cafeteria.

    Think what the complainers will about the man but know his job is nearly inhuman because he cares about people and the issues and promises he campaigned on. What he did not have, in his hands, was a loyal and courageous Democratic House and Senate willing to go to the wall for us, for you and me. Instead, some went to the bunker and hid out while people like Sen. Boxer and Chairman Waxman did our heavy lifting…..lifting that we were supposed to be doing.

    We must have thought it was a done deal when the climate change bill passed out of Committee because the national cry for its support that summer was silent. People went on vacation. Where was the all out, juggernaut assault on Senate members who opposed the bill and the brute force by their constituents to make them support it. It wasn’t there. Remember that summer? And, that is because today these legislative battles rarely go outside the beltway any longer.

    The door knocking and lobbying citizens to call and demand their reps and Senators support the legislation is no longer a part of how the big green operate. We went inside and became negotiators ourselves and did less and less community and grass roots organizing because it takes time , hard work, lots of staff and money.

    Obama, in his second term, can chain himself to the rail at the steps of the Capitol but that will not get him the votes he needs to do anything. WE have to provide the team that LEGISLATE so that he can EXECUTE the law we want.

    That’s how it works and we seem to not understand. He does not have a vote. He has a voice but too many don’t hear, wont listen, don’t like, some hate. Change that and we’ll get legislation.

    Meanwhile, I do believe he is quietly negotiating with India, Brazil and China to sort out a “compromise” that will get the train rolling. Rolling would likely not be enough but it breaks the inertia.

    They are not stupid nations and their leaders see the future will be destroyed by drought and sea level rise. If you doubt that, you are not paying attention.

    And, if anyone doubst Obama cares and believes himself, they are wrong. It is with us he probably has some doubt. Will we deliver the votes in the 113th Congress when he needs them.

    He aint got a vote. Only a veto pen. And, if the repugs take the Senate, he’ll need a basket full of veto pens.

    We get the Democracy we work for. It isn’t easy living in a democracy when we citizens detach from the game when we get tired, bored or disillusioned.

    The Kroch brothers know us too well and they are going after it all.

    John McCormick

  24. NeilT says:

    [JR: Because we lack the time for another 6 years of minimal results -- and no global deal is possible without a U.S. commitment. Most Americans support explicit action on GHG reduction -- talking about climate won't cost him votes, but not talking about it might (and, as Brulle says, is self-destructive).]

    I also doubt we can afford 8 years of republicans with a worse record than Bush Junior, in the presidency and in control of both houses.

    In the last election Tea Party candidates took seats by explicitly denying that Global Warming even exists, let alone is an issue we must face.

    How can we equate that with not losing votes by introducing Global Warming into a speech in the middle of an extreme winter where much of America is shivering?

    How can he win with this when all anyone hears on the news is “well you can’t assoicate a single event with Global Warming”, still, after everything has been said about not communicating that way.

    The answer is “Hell yes it’s Global Warming as is every single extreme event you are going to see for the next 50 years. It’s ALL Global Warming”.

    Until that message gets across to the majority of the voters; no direct action which requires a discussion on Global Warming can be taken.

    He’s doing what you want. Now do what he wants. Tell EVERYONE that EVERY extreme event, hot or cold, wet or dry, from now on, is driven by Global Warming.

    It’s true, why can’t we admit it?

  25. mike roddy says:

    Joe and Robert are right. Obama has been intimidated by the oil and coal companies, and it’s disgraceful.

  26. Sasparilla says:

    I have to take issue with the people saying don’t blame Obama here.

    Action on Climate Change was one of three primary issues of his campaign that he promised (not mentioned but promised) to take action on.

    After getting into office and House leaders deciding to create a Climate Bill during that very first year – they were shocked that they had to goad the President into lobbying House members to vote for the bill. The administration had obviously already thrown climate change action over the side of the boat and kicked the can down the road to the next administration, but nobody else knew it.

    Did the administration try and lobby Senate members on the issue? No, didn’t even try. The administration actually, on multiple occasions, did things that kicked the legs out from underneath the bill as it was being assembled in the Senate (even though the Senators were trying to coordinate with the administration on it – the oil drilling giveways being an example of incentives the Senators wanted to include, however erroneously, and talked to the administration about and then the administration just gave them away for free in the mean time).

    Could we have passed a climate bill in that first year if the President had pushed a full court press on it in the Senate? We’ll never know, but there was at least a chance that it could have. The Republicans hadn’t coalesced around the we’ll let nothing get done for Obama that Rush was talking up at that point. And, for our children’s future, we would have tried.

    But the Administration, specifically the President (who has people who have told him the true consequences) chose not to even try. And, of course, not talk / explain about that not trying.

    At this point, its over for the next 2 years at a minimum at the Federal Level and probably we won’t have a chance until the stars align and we get supermajorities in both houses and a Dem president (which typically happens on decade type time scales & after what we saw here, who knows how much of a real chance this really was). i.e. we probably blew it.

    As for right now, the President can do nothing – however because there is so little time left before it becomes nature takes control from us on climate change and the consequences are so dire – he needs to talk about it. If he wants to leave it out of the State of the Union (letting the fossil fuel lobbies muzzle him) so be it, but he has a duty to the country and its future to still talk about it separately – otherwise evil wins here, as its currently doing. JMHO…

  27. John McCormick says:

    OK, OK, OK.

    “So, how’s that hopey, changey thing working for you.”

    We have a pinata to whack. So, have at it.

    John McCormick

  28. Listening to the Economic outlook hearing live on CNN I am struck by the similarities in the debate about how to deal with the national debt compared to debates on climate change.

  29. Mimikatz says:

    I agree with much of what Brulte and Joe say, but Rob and Neil make good points too.

    Is the big Obama speech moving the public on Climate Change to come before or after the Big Speech educating the public on Gun Control that many are clamoring for? Before or after they finish the Budget and reeducate the public on the need for investment spending?

    There’s just so much reeducation that the public needs after the massive disinformation campaigns by the Right!I

    My sense is that he understands the problems, but that he is waiting for the GOP to move way to the Right and then will work on climate messaging next year as part of the contrast he draws for reelection. At the same time, it is for us and this site to keep up the push and above all pave the way with the public.

  30. John McCormick says:

    RE # 25

    Mike, he’s the guy who called on Congress to eliminate tax subsidies for fossil fuel companies. Disgraceful?

    John McCormick

  31. paulm says:

    Ok just unsubscribed from my white house email sub – reason given – we need someone who can lead on global warming.

  32. Peter M says:

    Hansen tells the AU Labor party-

    In new research just out, Hansen concludes that at the current temperature, no “cushion” is left to avoid dangerous climate change, and that the Australian government target goals “… of limiting human-made warming to 2° and CO2 to 450 ppm are prescriptions for disaster”.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/01/27/nasa-climate-chief-labors-targets-a-recipe-for-disaster/

  33. Raul M. says:

    Did see coments about what we are seeing
    Now is the AGW from the earlier years.
    While true, the physics indicates photon
    Attraction to any CO2 in the air not just
    Those from years past. The issue of not
    Six years left to deny the AGW evidence
    And an extensive course of action is yep
    In your face.
    That would indicate you should paint a
    Hat with radiant barrier energy star paint
    Before it gets too late!

  34. with the doves says:

    It’s good that he called upon Congress to end subsidies for fossil fuels.

    However, we all know this will go nowhere with a GOP house. And we know that in 2009-2010 we had a Congress (slightly) more inclined in this direction, and nothing of the kind happened. So this statement comes off as a grandstand play as far as getting anything accomplished goes. He can put on his resume “I called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies” even though they didn’t end, and he didn’t exert maximum pressure to end them during the window of possibility.

    Mimikatz @ 28 – Climate is more important than gun control.

  35. Nick says:

    My guess is that after reelection, you’ll see a forceful push, w/ the White House more or less challenging climate change deniers.

    Voters are swayed by…well, you tell me. (Anyone catch any of the post-SOTU interviews w/ voters on NPR this week? Ugh.) Right now, “energy independence” fits w/ the focus on job growth, which is Obama’s one and only ticket to reelection. Unfortunately, “climate change legislation” has been redefined as “new taxes”, and might very well play into the RNC’s cynical, fear-mongering strategy. That’s just how it stands at this point in American politics. And it makes me want to rip my hair out.

    After reelection, he’ll (hopefully) have the recession somewhat behind him, possibly a more science-friendly Congress, and momentum w/ which to propel climate science to the front pages.

  36. Mike Tabony says:

    America, including the White House at this point.

    Reach in that cupboard for another bottle of “Denial”, gonna need it on another high temperature record setting day. That bottle will put all those global warming fears in their place and I can make that flight to Buenos Aires to go tangoing. Hell I got a great deal on that seat and don’t want any angst about fossilized carbon. Sixteen hours on a plane for 4 hours of the best dancing on Earth. YES! Get some good rest each direction. And next weekend a Saturday noon flight to Seattle to hear the symphony with a return the same evening to get back in Baltimore without missing the Sunday game. Double YES!! Another sip or two and I can label all those atmospheric research papers as the work of alarmists trying to stop the economy. And my enjoyment. Besides, God’s in control and he calls the shots. He wouldn’t let us hurt the polar bears; you know that. And the planes will go even if I’m not in them. They’ll even send them empty to make a point. One more little sip.

    Wrote the preceding note last fall but thought it might make a fun read today. We all have our choices to make and I won’t board those planes even if they are giving the seats away. “Denial” goes a long way and there is plenty of it here in the old USA.

  37. Rob Honeycutt says:

    If people want Obama to stick his neck WAY out on climate change… if you want him to risk every bit of his political capital on this topic that essentially puts all humanity at risk… WE need to be taking more drastic actions!!

    We should be calling for a broad ranging strike (sit down, work stoppage) on the part of working scientists across the country. We know that MOST scientists agree that AGW is real and a danger. But they have yet to prove to the public that they believe this is the crisis they make it out to be.

    We’ve got bone-headed teapartiers who can hardly spell marching in the street claiming Obama is a Kenyan, a Nazi and everything under the sun. But no one on our side has made the organizing effort to make a similar public show of solidarity on this VERY REAL issue that has the most dire consequences for humanity.

    If we don’t have 6 more years for inaction then WE have to take action. Don’t wait for Obama to say what we want him to say. Empower him to say what we (and he) know needs to be said. If we don’t every one of those initiatives Obama is putting forth will be crushed by the right wing in Congress.

    I would get on a plane and fly to Washington tomorrow if the scientists of this nation would make a collective stand. There is no issue that is more important today.

  38. Mike Roddy says:

    John, #29, good point. Obama’s not all bad. I just wish he’s use the language of Truman or Swarzenegger.

  39. dp says:

    john mccormick:

    the obama campaign volunteer organization was one of the largest, most energized, and best organized in a long time.

    facing the greatest national legislative challenges in generations — easily equal to the formative FDR period — and knowing they would need all the rockin’ sockin’ door-knockin’ public support they could get, what did team obama do?

    team obama sent the volunteers packing.

    so they embraced a strategy where THEY HAD TO GENERATE THE ENERGY THEMSELVES and they couldn’t.

    whose fault is that? greenpeace’s?

  40. John McCormick says:

    Mike, thanks. We’ve got to play the hand we hold. And, put the pressure on ourselves to give Obama the Congress he’ll need.

    John McCormick

  41. Rob Honeycutt says:

    John McCormick…

    Very well said.

  42. Let me put this issue as clearly as I can. The political choice in 2012 will be between Obama or a global warming denying Republican. Third party talk is destructive. Our only hope at this point (it is already 2011) is that Obama will be more able to talk and act after the upcoming election.

    Accordingly, we climate hawks must organize and help elect more Democrats to the House and Senate as well as elect Obama in order to get legislative action on global warming initiatives after 2012.

  43. paulm says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/27/ban-ki-moon-un-climate-change-talks
    Ban Ki-moon ends hands-on involvement in climate change talks
    UN secretary general will redirect efforts to making more immediate gains in clean energy and sustainable development

  44. Laura D says:

    @dp:
    Obama did NOT send the volunteers packing. In fact, he did exactly the opposite, paying for office space and support staff in every state, ongoing training, and voter contact tools. There are thousands of organizers, and tens of thousands of volunteers still very active all across the country.

    As a volunteer with OFA in the past year, I personally have made thousands of phone calls and knocked on hundreds of doors, organized and participated in dozens of events, attended and organized grassroots and specialized training programs, done webinars and conferences, service projects, education campaigns, etc., all in support of issues I feel strongly about (including climate change), and for candidates I wanted to help elect.

    What have you done?

  45. Brooks Bridges says:

    JR

    I’ll readily admit to loads of naivete or wouldn’t suggest this but:

    Why don’t you, and/or Bill McKibben and/or James Hansen and/or (your suggestion here) request a meeting with the the President?

    You all certainly have the stature and credentials worth of such a request.

    And I would so like to be a fly on the wall at such a meeting.

  46. BPW says:

    NeilT @24,

    “It’s true, why can’t we admit it?”

    Because it isn’t true. And because trying to convince people of that non-fact is what is shooting you in the foot to begin with.

  47. Jeff Huggins says:

    A Practical Point Worth Noting

    I question the wisdom of deciding that we need to support Obama in 2012, whatever he does, and whatever the present Democrats and Administration do, based on the reasoning that the alternative (if you view the only alternative as being the Repubs) is worse. This nearly “unconditional support” is problematic and is probably an important aspect of what has gotten us into this ineffective and hesitant mess. When will we learn?

    Consider this basic point: The sooner that we (in growing numbers) clearly indicate that we will NOT support the Obama Administration in the next election UNLESS he steps up to the plate and gets rigorously serious and committed regarding climate change (How ’bout mentioning it at least five times in a State of The Union Speech?!), the sooner he WILL decide he must get serious, and the sooner he’ll do it.

    The relevant question is not whether the Repubs would be better or worse. That’s not even a question. We know the answer to that. But the relevant question is this: Will Obama do WHAT IT WILL TAKE to bring about serious forward movement to effectively address climate change IF he doesn’t think that doing so is necessary to his own political success?

    I ask: What have we learned, so far, regarding the apparent answer to that question?

    In my view, unfortunately, either President Obama is not sufficiently motivated, in a deep and genuine sense, on the climate change problem, OR his judgment regarding approaches and tactics is dismal.

    If his judgment is dismal (on this subject), we need to get someone new. If, on the other hand, he is insufficiently motivated, then we need to send him the credible and serious signal that he will not be reelected unless he finds motivation regarding climate change, soon.

    AND HERE is the practical point: IF more and more people insist that they will not support President Obama in the next primaries and election UNLESS he dramatically strengthens his tune and effectiveness regarding climate change, those people will have the leverage, and necessarily so. Why? Because he will be unlikely to be elected without those votes! In other words, people (many folks here, at this point) who are in essence saying “we need to support him no matter what, otherwise the alternative is worse, and thus cut out the talk about other Democratic candidates, third parties, or abstaining from voting” — people with that view will find themselves in the position of needing to convince us (or else convince Repubs, or convince ever-greater numbers of Independents) in order to actually get Obama re-elected. Thus, if enough people insist that they will NOT support President Obama UNLESS he dramatically “steps up” his climate change efforts and effectiveness, and if those people stick to that view, then all the other people who would prefer to see him re-elected no matter what will have no choice (if they want enough votes to get him elected) but to join the appeal to HIM that he MUST step up his efforts in order to get re-elected. In this way, the people that demand action, the people that would prefer to see him elected unconditionally, and President Obama himself, will ALL be “united” and working according to the same reality: that Obama MUST “step up” his climate change efforts in order to be re-elected, period. And that is as it should be, because he seems to be showing that he cannot motivate himself “enough” to do what the task requires. This is why I’m convinced, at this point, that we should not vote for President Obama UNLESS he “steps up” his climate change motivation, efforts, tactics, and effectiveness accordingly. If we want sufficient results, we must have high expectations and high demands. Period. To be clear, I HOPE that he gets this message and comes through. I’m still hoping for him — rooting. But I think it’s foolish and unproductive to do anything other than insist, at this point, that a vote in his favor, come the next election, will not be forthcoming UNLESS he has gotten his motivation and act together with respect to climate change. And, for the reasons I’ve explained, I think that people who take this stand, if enough of us do, actually have “the leverage” to make this stand the reality of the situation. The other stand — that “we need to vote for Obama no matter what” — has zero leverage. It will not enhance Obama’s motivation, nor does it have any leverage with me, nor will it have any leverage in the election itself if enough people (and not all that many are necessary, in close elections) insist that their votes will be dependent on President Obama finding his motivation and adopting much more forceful and effective tactics.

    Let me know what you think on this question: Can the Democratic party get President Obama re-elected without my vote (and more importantly, without the votes of a million other people who will hopefully adopt the same view), votes which will be made dependent on whether he dramatically “steps up” his motivation, efforts, tactics, and effectiveness regarding climate change? If not, then President Obama will have to do so, in order to get re-elected. And if that’s the case, then people who would prefer that he get re-elected without qualification or condition will have no practical choice except to also join in on insisting that he do so. And that’s as it should be. Why? Because the aim is to face and address climate change, and we can’t afford another six years of not doing so with complete gusto.

    That’s my thinking. Can someone explain why it doesn’t make sense? What it amounts to is this: Anyone willing to withhold her/his vote, unless President Obama steps up to the plate much more vigorously and effectively, “holds the cards” (so to speak) if enough people take that stand. And not all that many are needed, in close elections. The other “unconditional” stand has no leverage. Nor will it get the necessary task accomplished. Period.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  48. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I can back up what Laura D says. My younger brother worked for Obama during the campaign and has worked as a paid staffer in Iowa since after the election in 2008.

  49. John McCormick says:

    RE # 41

    Phil, that is the most valuable comment I’ve seen in a long while.

    Do progressives and particularly the environmental groups and their funders have what it will take to do the long term grunt work of registering millions of young voters and the unregistered then get them to the polls to turn the Congress around and give reelected President Obama the team he will need to push what we want.

    Enough hand wringing and gnashing of teeth. Fred Krupp and John Podesta this is something you can orchestrate with the help of George Soros and some of the new young wealth in this country.

    Folks, its time to put up and shut up and get to work because we (the voters) are the weak link in the nation’s effort to control climate change.

    Change your light bulbs, get a hundred new believers to register and get them to the polls.

    John McCormick

  50. John McCormick says:

    RE # 46

    Jeff, excuse my blunt comment. You are speaking nonsense and I did not exopect that from you. You wise up. Obama is the only game in town unless you want to go to another country and watch from afar.

    John McCormick

  51. jcwinnie says:

    But, Joseph, there already is a consensus… to be in the pockets of the pollutocrats.

  52. Jeff Huggins says:

    John (Comment 49)

    John, I am eager and willing to listen to reasoning that (a) directly addresses the central point and logic in my argument, (b) clearly states the reason(s) that undermine my argument, and (c) explains the reasons for your argument, in more depth than merely restating “only game in town”. The “only game in town” argument doesn’t address (at all) the central point I’ve made — indeed, it ignores the point and assumes the correctness of the view that I’m arguing against. It should be clear, by now, that I’m not saying “drop Obama”. Not at all. Instead, I’m saying that we should (and indeed we should) make further support of Obama in the next election entirely CONTINGENT on him dramatically “stepping up” his motivation, judgment, tactics, resolve, and effectiveness regarding climate change. And I’m also saying that people that do so will have the leverage in the next election, if enough of us do so. I’ve decided to make my vote contingent, and others will undoubtedly do so. And of course, if you want to get him elected again, even if he doesn’t meet this requirement, then it would help your cause if you would provide reasoning. You won’t win my vote for him (and he won’t) by merely bluntly calling my view “nonsense”, and be merely reasserting the “only game in town” assertion, without providing convincing and sound reasons. Right?

    I’m willing to read and consider reasons IF you provide them and if they are compelling. That’s the way reasoning works. And again, as I’ve said before, I do continue to “hope” that Obama will step up to the plate, but I think (and you haven’t explained otherwise) that the best way to get him to do so is to genuinely make voting for him contingent on that requirement.

    I enjoy open debates and arguments, and I will consider your reasoning if you supply all of what I mentioned above ((a), (b), and (c)) without merely reasserting the point you want me to accept. Provide reasons and explanations that deal with the points I’ve made.

    Thanks John (and in the interest of good discussion),

    Jeff

  53. dp says:

    laura d: “Obama did NOT send the volunteers packing.… As a volunteer with OFA in the past year…”

    i want you to have more money and more staff, to be able to directly help people, and what, you want to be superperson who doesn’t need those things, and to take it personally that anyone would say you’re underfunded and understaffed FOR THE PURPOSE OF GETTING PEOPLE ORGANIZED TO FIGHT.

    “what have you done?”

    that’s not the go-to line of a person well-equipped to activate the public.

    ——

    rob honeycutt: “My younger brother worked for Obama during the campaign and has worked as a paid staffer in Iowa since after the election in 2008.”

    if i told i won a little money at the lottery once, would you buy a ticket?

  54. OregonStream says:

    It’d be nice to see an outline of what the administration itself thinks needs to be done specifically on fossil carbon emissions, and how that compares to scientific calls for reduction. We see some disjointed goals, but no clear political impetus for achieving them. So now it largely boils down to voters and how well-informed they are about the risks. That is, to the extent that they actually look a the position of candidates on accelerated climate change, and care more about getting the ball rolling than keeping subsidies for their gasoline etc.

  55. John McCormick says:

    RE # 50

    Jeff, thank you for inviting me to further engage in this discussion with you. I have recognized your contributions to this blog as constructive and with purpose.

    Here is the come to Jesus part of your comment #46:

    “In my view, unfortunately, either President Obama is not sufficiently motivated, in a deep and genuine sense, on the climate change problem, OR his judgment regarding approaches and tactics is dismal.

    If his judgment is dismal (on this subject), we need to get someone new. If, on the other hand, he is insufficiently motivated, then we need to send him the credible and serious signal that he will not be reelected unless he finds motivation regarding climate change, soon. ”

    Obama has the former Chief of Staff of former Chairman Henry Waxman sitting outside the oval office and Phil Shalero shepherded the climate change legislation through the House in 2009. He knows the Hill, the issue and is a part of the decision-making team in the White House.

    You and I are not privy to the President’s judgment regarding approaches and tactics. But, we can read between the lines and access, for ourselves, what his chances are to get legislation passed in the 112th. Zero. Right?

    His chances of getting reelected are, today, looking good. But, we are a schizophrenic electorate. Note his approval ratings swings from Nov 3 to today. How did that happen? Maybe it is that people are not as much focused on global warming as they are on economic survival TODAY. The President pulled off some miracles (IMO) in the lame duck and greatly improved his image. A 9.4% unemployment rate could defeat him.

    You suggest we play a game of chicken with the incumbent President and dare him to go full bore on climate change legislation and pronouncements(I’m not sure what you want him to do at this point) regardless of the vacuum he’d be operating in. What’s the advantage to that when we already have to slog through the next two years holding onto the EPA rule, budget debates on tax subsidies for wind and solar, CAFE, eliminating subsidies for fossils, etc.

    How are you going to keep tabs on all those who join your effort and assure me that you will release the votes at the appropriate time when he satisfies your demands?

    Maybe the 2012 Presidential election will be decided by the Supreme Court? I don’t know. But, I do know that every ambivalent Democrat, independent and republican believer who withholds their vote because they have some particular beef with the incumbent President is one more vote for some yahoo repug.

    For the hundredth time, I will say it again: The man we honor for bringing climate change to the big screen was robbed of essential votes, in Florida, by Ralph Nader.

    Do you want to call the President’s bluff? Do you want to create a climate for not voting for President Obama, if he decides to seek reelection, because he did not jump through a flaming hoop?

    If a repug President is elected in 2012, we deserve rebuke from our children. Period!

    I’ve said harsh things here but they were said in desperation and with respect to your intellect while recognizing your disappointment and frustration with our State of Affairs.

    John McCormick

  56. John McCormick says:

    RE # 53

    Jeff,

    I made a serious typo. “with respect to your”‘ I meant “with respect for your intellect”

    I respect you, Jeff. My apology for that unfortunate mistake.

    John McCormick

  57. Jeff Huggins says:

    Hi John (Comment 53) …

    If I read your comment correctly, you are dancing around — and not at all addressing — my central point. And you are also extrapolating and making assumptions about my reasoning, which I never said.

    First, there is a difference between pulling a rabbit out of a hat and actually passing major climate legislation tomorrow, or next week, or in the next 24 months — things that would nearly be impossible to do — and becoming MUCH more effective at talking about climate change, raising the issue, informing the public, setting the stage, and getting everything prepared in that way for appealing credibly to the public (including me) on the matter of what he plans to do with climate change if re-elected. If you can show me anything that I’ve said, in recent posts, that would be “impossible” for him to do, then please do. As far as I can tell, I haven’t stated (in my expectations and conditions, if he wants my vote) that he must do something that would be impossible or unrealistic, by any means. Remember, he didn’t even mention ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ by name in Tuesday’s Address. One of the things that I’m saying is that that is NOT good enough, nor wise, nor effective, and it will not earn my vote. So, please don’t think that I’m asking for the impossible during these next 18 months. I’m not. President Obama should be, and should have been, setting the stage and educating the public, and using the bully pulpit, regarding climate change — ALL ALONG. He should be setting the stage — and compellingly so. He shouldn’t be shying away, and ineffectively so.

    Also, apparently, he has been — and still is — failing to inform and convince the public that addressing climate change and so forth and revitalizing a (more and more) sustainable and healthy economy go hand in hand. In other words, it’s a false framework — misinformed — to think that President Obama must choose between EITHER caring about jobs and the economy OR caring about the climate. His job is to do BOTH — and to explain to the public how both can and must be done, together. I don’t buy that tradeoff. As I’ve said, he should be setting the stage, and doing ALL he can to do so. That’s why I voted for him. How about you?

    Also, once again, I didn’t say to drop Obama today. Instead — and this is quite different — I said that we should (and I will) make my vote for him, in the next election, contingent upon whether he does “step up” his motivation, effort, use of the bully pulpit, tactics, and effectiveness regarding climate change in the coming 12 to 18 months. As far as I can tell, you haven’t provided any reasons to challenge that part (which is the central part) of what I’m saying: Your support for him already — a full 18 months before the election — seems to be unconditioned and come with very few expectations or requirements. He already has your vote, it seems, because “there is no other choice”. To me, that doesn’t make sense. I voted for him last time, and he has (so far) dropped the ball regarding the main reasons I voted for him. So, I’m trying to be clear, honest, and productive AHEAD OF TIME this time, to let anyone who cares understand that, if they want my vote, they’ll have to demonstrate their genuine full-throttled concern about climate change. That’s fair, isn’t it? If he wants my vote, he can do what he should be doing anyhow.

    There is an old saying, that you get what you expect and require. If your expectations and requirements are low, that’s what you’ll get: not much. President Obama’s actions, so far, as far as I can tell, have suggested to me that he will only step up to the plate on climate change, sufficiently, if he thinks that he’ll lose the next election if he doesn’t do so. And that’s precisely what he should be thinking. Because I think people should demand — as a condition for voting for him next time — that he dramatically improve his focus, motivation, verve, tactics, and effectiveness on climate change and related issues, in concert with (and as a necessary part of) his corresponding actions on the economy. I would say this: Unless you know him personally, and he has made a personal promise to you that he’ll do better next time on climate change, how can you possibly (at this point) expect and trust that he’ll be motivated to get the job done unless he thinks that he MUST do so in order to keep the Presidency and gain a legacy? Again, I’m not asking for “the impossible” in the next 18 months. Instead, what I’m asking for, and requiring, is a necessary setting of the stage (in coming months) for achievement of the NECESSARY in the coming several years. He’ll get my vote IF (and only IF) he convinces me that he is SET on that and that he CAN and WILL do it.

    Realize that, in my view, President Obama didn’t even state the main part of the moral/ethical case for addressing climate change. He not only didn’t use the phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’, but (also) he didn’t even state the clear and complete case for why we should care and why we SHOULD address the problem. In my view, on this count anyhow, he’s treating us like children, and he’s deferring to the Repub arguments, and he’s retreating even before the real battle has begun. HE is the one who is SUPPOSED TO BE making the case, clearly. He should have started setting the stage long ago; and far from working hard to set a stronger stage now, he’s retreating from the dialogues that must necessarily begin to take place.

    Also to be clear, I’m not wanting or claiming to be some sort of spear-header of a movement along these lines: You ask, in effect, “[how will you] assure me that you will release the votes at the appropriate time …?” The only vote I have is my own, of course. I do hope that growing numbers of people understand what I’m talking about, and many already do, on their own, and I have no plans to organize a movement. Instead, I am talking about MY vote. And I merely assume, hope, and think that many other folks will realize the same thing. But I’m not in a position to “release” or not “release” anyone’s vote, other than my own. Indeed, that’s the point: You too should be thinking of your vote as being contingent on Obama’s performance, and you should be encouraging him to realize the importance of “stepping up” his efforts on climate, along these lines, if you want folks like me to vote for him next time and give him another chance. It’s not a tactical political game, of course, what I’m talking about. People will only know if he has earned enough votes on the night of the election, or the next morning, and he will only earn my vote (I can’t speak for others) if he does a very great deal more, regarding climate change, to set the stage and inform the public, and push business, and make the sale of the vital importance of the matter, in coming months.

    Thanks, John. Cheers,

    Jeff

  58. John McCormick says:

    RE # 56

    Anyone who is an AGW believer and does not vote for the incumbent Democratic Presidential candidate (i.e, President Obama)will have to live with and justify the consequences. That is the last word I have on this matter with you, Jeff.

    John McCormick

  59. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I want to echo John’s sentiment. The option of having a republican elected in 2012 is not rational. That is the proverbial cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    Instead of giving the president ultimatums how about we give him the kind of support he needs to get done what we want him to do!

  60. Peter M says:

    As much as I disagree with Obama- and have pondered the ‘what if’ should I vote Green in 2012- having a republican in office is a far worse scenario then Obama.

    Many on the left have said let the GOP finish off their 30 plus year economic Ponzi scheme in this country. Plus add the increasingly deleterious events of AGW- all a recipe for disaster.

    Perhaps it would end the conservative movement for decades- but the suffering will be horrendous.

  61. Laura D says:

    dp says: “i want you to have more money and more staff, to be able to directly help people, and what, you want to be superperson who doesn’t need those things, and to take it personally that anyone would say you’re underfunded and understaffed FOR THE PURPOSE OF GETTING PEOPLE ORGANIZED TO FIGHT.”

    I would love to have more money and more staff – who wouldn’t? You didn’t say it was underfunded and understaffed (I’m wondering how I could take something personally when you didn’t say it to begin with, but I digress); you said that team Obama sent the volunteers packing. I pointed out that that was patently false. The reality is that – for the first time in history, and at the behest of our President – the Democratic party is funding offices, support staff, tools, training, and more so that volunteers have the resources they need to continue to work on getting people organized, and indeed volunteers are doing just that all across the country.

    “what have you done?”

    dp says: that’s not the go-to line of a person well-equipped to activate the public.

    I’m sorry if it offended you. It was a serious question. I’d really like to know. Plenty of people are working in a great variety of ways that perhaps we could all benefit from hearing about.

    I’ve chosen to do what I do because I can see the results it brings over time. I live in a very green city, in a very blue county, smack in the middle of a very red state. My city and county didn’t get the way they are by accident, and they won’t stay that way without continued effort, either. Just as an example of what we’ve been able to do locally, take a look at our city’s climate plan, which we’re on track to achieve (warning, it’s a pdf):
    http://jwproperties.net/virtualoffice_files//austinclimateplan.pdf

  62. Jeff Huggins says:

    John (Comment 56)

    John, that does not live up to the idea of argument and reasoning, nor does it reflect (or address, or respond to) the reasoning that I’ve mentioned several times now. Nor does it convince me, so you are not making headway, with that sort of assertion, in achieving the aim that you presumably want to achieve. Indeed, it is (obviously) equally justified for me to say that “Anyone who is an AGW believer and does not demand action, and does not require anyone who would be his leader to work as hard as possible, and smartly, and to be committed to addressing climate change, and to be EFFECTIVE in doing so, and anyone who will vote for someone without any conditions or qualifications, and who will announce that vote 18 months ahead of time, will have to live with and justify the consequences IF either (a) his candidate gets reelected and again proves ineffective at coming up with an effective way to address climate change, or even if (b) his candidate loses because that candidate did not convince enough people, credibly, that he will be able to address climate change if elected.”

    So this “you’ll have to live with the consequences” assertion that you make is not an argument, or at least not nearly a convincing one, nor does it even come close to addressing my points, nor does it show that you’ve understood my points in the first place. You seem to be arguing (you have not said otherwise) that we shouldn’t even bother insisting, to him and to ourselves, that he should demonstrate that he’s up to the task of addressing climate change, if he were elected for a second term. A free ticket to re-election, you seem more than happy to give him, despite the lackluster results so far on climate change.

    If we want something to “hold responsible”, let’s hold our own low expectations, low requirements, and “go with the flow” cheerleading responsible for the lack of progress so far, and for the fact that President Obama didn’t even find it necessary to mention ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’, even once, in his State of the Union Address. You are convincing me of why, quite often, Democrats (and I’m one) seem very often to be ineffective at ultimately achieving our aims: because of low expectations and our own willingness to “live with” ineffectiveness. To be clear, I’m not frustrated because President Obama hasn’t succeeded on climate change. Instead, I’m frustrated because President Obama hasn’t even tried very hard on climate change — and his performance on Tuesday does not come near convincing me that he will try as hard as is necessary.

    It seems to me that I am the one asking, requesting, demanding, that President Obama step up his efforts on climate change — and I am letting him know that doing so will be necessary if he wants to earn my vote. In contrast, you seem to be the one that is happy with, or at least accepting of, his efforts so far. So, apart from projecting forward to an election 18 months from now, who is following a strategy that is MOST likely to prompt him to be as effective as possible? Indeed, he told America, on Tuesday, that we all have to step it up, get competitive, try hard, and so forth in order to solve the pressing problems of our time. Meanwhile, he did not even mention ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’, nor did he talk seriously about that challenge. So WHO, I ask, is not trying hard enough, smart enough, or straightforwardly enough?

    I am perfectly happy considering myself responsible for asking — demanding — more motivation and effectiveness on Obama’s part with respect to climate change. He has done far too little, and we should all be telling him so. I am “on his side”, still, “hoping”, but asking that he earn my next vote, 18 months away. That seems perfectly sensible and entirely responsible — indeed necessary — to me. How many times has President Obama used nationwide public addresses, and the bully pulpit, and so forth, to give climate change the attention it cries out for? And did the climate and energy bill even come to a vote in the Senate? Did Obama mention ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in his Address Tuesday, and I missed it? Well then, it appears that it will be necessary to ask for, and demand, that much more attention be given to the matter. If he “steps it up”, he’ll get my vote. If he doesn’t, he won’t. I haven’t heard an argument that says, or even suggests, that this isn’t the best and necessary approach to take.

    Thanks John,

    Jeff

  63. dp says:

    laura d:

    “The reality is that – for the first time in history, and at the behest of our President – the Democratic party is funding offices, support staff, tools, training, and more so that volunteers have the resources they need to continue to work on getting people organized, and indeed volunteers are doing just that all across the country.”

    ok so i was wrong. after the election, the bulk of the volunteers weren’t given the cold shoulder, to be gathered again for the purpose of the 2010 congressional primaries. you yourself, for instance, were recruited for some other reason, probably to do community service, right?

    “I’m sorry if it offended you. It was a serious question. I’d really like to know. Plenty of people are working in a great variety of ways that perhaps we could all benefit from hearing about.”

    i am flattered speechless.

  64. Laura D says:

    dp says: “you yourself, for instance, were recruited for some other reason, probably to do community service, right?”

    Recruited? Nah. Hundreds of us in Austin (and reportedly in many other places as well) were there months before the staff and offices were up and running. We were already meeting on a regular basis, organizing to move forward on local and national issues.

    Most of us figured out pretty early on that, as monumental an effort as it was to elect a new president, that was going to be the easy part. The hard work is organizing enough support to move issues forward, and where there isn’t enough popular support or political will yet for legislation on an issue, finding every possible way to make progress without it.

  65. paulm says:

    Its ashamed that Hansen did not pick up the Nobel prize earlier. Maybe he would have been taken more seriously…

    Obama Apparently Hasn’t Listened to Hansen
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/president-obama-continues-squandering-opportunities-environmental-leadership.php

  66. dp says:

    laura d:

    “Hundreds of us … were there months before the staff and offices were up and running. We were already meeting on a regular basis, organizing to move forward on local and national issues.”

    naturally you all happened to answer the same craigslist ad.

  67. SunMan says:

    My goodness, as a supporter of this blog, as a supporter of aggressive action against climate change… as an aggressive advocate of a strong carbon tax or cap and trade or neutralizing the current tax and subsidy advantages carbon based fuels have… I cannot believe the naivety of beliefs.

    For example this comment: Consider this basic point: The sooner that we (in growing numbers) clearly indicate that we will NOT support the Obama Administration in the next election UNLESS he steps up to the plate and gets rigorously serious and committed regarding climate change (How ’bout mentioning it at least five times in a State of The Union Speech?!), the sooner he WILL decide he must get serious, and the sooner he’ll do it.

    Totally ignores reality. You cannot wave a magic wand and all of a sudden people believe you! You cannot wave a magic wand OR mention something even 50 times and all of a sudden people believe you.

    It also does not eliminate the vested carbon interests, their funding, their messaging, or their influence!!!

    I’m NOT saying the President would do everything exactly the same if he had the chance to do it again. But PEOPLE… GET REAL!

    YOU NEED 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE. IF YOU LOSE THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, HOW WILL YOU MAKE YOUR MAGIC WAND WORK THEN???

    What we need to be discussing is this:
    It today’s political reality, how can we be MOST effective in doing things that give hope for a livable climate?

    Jeff’s “plan” above will give climate deniers control of the House, Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court.

    How does that help us again? Please? Can we wake up from the idealistic dream and face reality?

    “Denial” is not just a river in Egypt!

  68. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’d like to ask the die-hard, Panglossian, supporters of Obama one double-barreled question. Do they think that Obama understands the science, and hence our immediate peril, and if he does so, why is he doing nothing, even to the extent of refusing to articulate the menace in plain English? And if he does not, then do you agree that that makes him tragically ignorant, like his predecessor. If neither proposition fits your belief, the only alternative I can see is that he is actually a denialist, a covert one, doing his bit for ‘business-as-usual’.

    [JR: I thought you were above such shark-jumping. Obama understands the science as well as most opinion makers, sadly, not as much as Holdren and Chu, which is what I first thought. He has done vastly more than every previous President combined -- in terms of clean energy funding, policies to reduce GHGs, and proposed regulations -- including Clinton, who talked about it more. But he doesn't 'get it' in the way needed to lead the nation and the world to the kind of massive deployment needed to avert catastrophe. Your final sentence is beyond absurd and calls into question your overall analysis.]

  69. SunMan says:

    Mulga Mumblebrain – Oh please… name calling against another person who believes in ClimateProgress? This is disturbing.

    Once again, what we need to be discussing is this:
    It today’s political reality, how can we be MOST effective in doing things that give hope for a livable climate?

    You are making a big hissyfit over language, when our destination is the same location. Wehn we agree on the destination, arguing over the road to get there is EXACTLY what the K(r)och brothers want. You are giving them the exact victory they seek.

    To answer your questions:

    Do they think that Obama understands the science, and hence our immediate peril
    Yes. I believe he does. Not as well as Joe Romm. Not as well as Michael Mann, but yes I do, with the caveat it is foolish and dangerous to guess/speculate at somebody else’s thoughts!

    why is he doing nothing
    Doing nothing? Just because his choice of words is not what you want, does not mean he is doing nothing. What I interpret you as meaning is “why is he doing less than what we know should be done?” Because he is not a dictator. Because we live in a democracy. Because we need swing votes. Please study PR and the legislative process, before blindly claiming he is doing nothing.

    even to the extent of refusing to articulate the menace in plain English?
    Hello? Do you think that one version of wording (English) is the only possibility? If the President OR WE use language that we are comfortable with, it only appears antagonistic when heard by a denier or by somebody not sure. Don’t use language that the choir is comfortable with, but speak in terms that people you WANT to join the choir will find comfortable. It’s called basic common sense.

    And if he does not, then do you agree that that makes him tragically ignorant, like his predecessor.
    Not even close. Not one bit. President Cheney flat out said ‘conservation is not part of an energy plan/policy’ and a myriad of other ACTIONS which demonstrated his denial. Your suggestion is not only based on non-facts, but a tragic inability to assess the situation.

    only alternative I can see is that he is actually a denialist, a covert one
    Oh my… tragic paranoia resulting from incapacity to see the script and some of the writing that is ‘in between the lines”

    You really fail to see the forest for the trees.

  70. SunMan:

    YOU NEED 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE. IF YOU LOSE THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, HOW WILL YOU MAKE YOUR MAGIC WAND WORK THEN???

    When the Democrats had majorities both in the House and Senate, we were told that we should avoid pissing off the Republican inactivists because they may control the House and/or Senate some time in the future.

    When the Democrats don’t have majorities in both houses, we are told that we should avoid pissing off the Republican inactivists because they control the House and/or Senate.

    So the question is, when can we finally start pissing off the Republican inactivists to our hearts’ content? How much power will the Republicans have to lose before you feel safe enough to piss them off?

    And most importantly, how can we even diminish the Republicans’ power, if the Democrats just keep acceding to their crazy demands again and again?

    frank

  71. SunMan says:

    frank –
    Your 1 + 1 = 3 logic is a logical fallacy.
    You are making false comparisons.
    I was right there during the first two years writing letters to our Senate “leadership” and Senate members pushing hard for Climate Progress issues.

    I’ve also clearly indicated and said in this forum that I believe that mistakes have been made.

    Your question “when can we finally start pissing off the Republican inactivists to our hearts’ content?” is absolutely scary to read, incredible that somebody on this blog would even comment this, but in an anonymous forum, we don’t know your true position on the topic here either.

    Hearing the President highlight the topic of petro’s massive subsidies and tax breaks is the open door. It shows the ray of light to a better outcome.

    In today’s political atmosphere, we must be assertive and put the petroleum industry on the defensive and point out the anti-United States behavior of a product that:

    * We (USA) import(s) 2 out of every 3 gallons
    * We (USA) possess only 1.8% of total world reserves
    * Contributes anywheres from 50 to 100% of our foreign trade deficit and is leaching out nation’s wealth and future
    * Increases national security costs and issues
    * Increases pollution

    We must put them on the defensive with simple, fact based points. We must educate America with simple, fact based points.

    If enough people do this, it breaks down their ability to defend their massive subsidies.

    This juggernaut of money and (carbon) addiction does not get changed with a simple finger push.

    And it surely does not get changed by pissing them off.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat and the sooner we understand and accept that, the sooner we can chip away at the addictive carbon behavior that is destroying not only our economy, but the planet.

  72. SunMan:

    In today’s political atmosphere, we must be assertive and put the petroleum industry on the defensive [...]

    We must put them on the defensive with simple, fact based points. We must educate America with simple, fact based points.

    but when you say “fact-based points” you really mean “fact-based points but only those that don’t challenge anyone’s beliefs”.

    Is the global warming theory not based on the best available science, logic, and facts? Is the global warming theory not something that US citizens should be educated on? Yet you propose that Obama and the progressive movement not talk about global warming — merely because doing so may make some people uncomfortable. How is that being “assertive”?

    Every one of your points, namely

    * We (USA) import(s) 2 out of every 3 gallons
    * We (USA) possess only 1.8% of total world reserves
    * Contributes anywheres from 50 to 100% of our foreign trade deficit and is leaching out nation’s wealth and future
    * Increases national security costs and issues
    * Increases pollution

    have been attacked by inactivist right-wingers who claim that we should just burn more domestic oil, and oil is harmless, and in any case this “clean energy” thing is just a Marxist plot to allow the Communist UN to rule the world and stuff.

    Given this, what are you going to do to avoid pissing off people? The word “environment” conjures up images of left-wing terrorists sabotaging coal facilities and blowing up stuff, so perhaps we should also avoid all talk about “environment”? Many people are offended by the terms “green energy”, “wind turbines”, “solar panels”, etc. so perhaps we should totally steer clear of the terms “green energy” et al. to avoid offending right-wingers? And so on…

    Is this what you call being “assertive”?

    frank

  73. SunMan says:

    Seriously Frank… it would be very helpful and far more productive if you took lessons on human relations, public relations, interacting with people… and also the dangers of ‘assumptions.’

    I’m not going to get into an argument where we both agree on the subject matter, but where your reading comprehension and assumptions of what I am saying is wrong.

    Regarding the facts that are “attacked by inactivist right-wingers” … so?

    Those “ainactivist right-wingers” lie for a living. They alwasy say something which basically means nothing.

    You, I, Jesus, Mohammad, and Vince Lombardi all combined will never get those paid talking whack-a-moles to admit they are liars or change their song.

    However, there is a HUGE SEA of humanity that needs educating in between. People who will acknowledge facts.

    People who vote.

    I’m sorry that you have so much anger. It’s not productive and actually hurts your/our cause and turns people off without educating anybody.

  74. SunMan, so in short you’re arguing, ‘nyah nyah nyah I don’t care about your facts I say I’m just smarter and more realistic than you and I’m right and you’re wrong and therefore Obama shouldn’t talk about global warming nyah nyah nyah!’

    In response, I’ll just say: Good day. Please feel free to cower “assertively” in the face of Republican power.

    frank