‘Bush Will Go Down In History As Possibly A Person Who Has Doomed The Planet’–Or Has Obama’s Inaction Saved W?

So, Very Serious People are re-evaluating George W. Bush on the occasion of the opening of his Presidential Library.

For instance, did you know that “George W. Bush is smarter than you.” Well, that only proves you aren’t as smart as you think!

Still, Bush merits re-examination on the climate issue, at least if we are grading on a curve. In the light of Obama’s failure to pass a domestic climate bill or negotiate an international climate treaty, maybe people have been too harsh on Bush.

In December 2008, for instance, I wrote a post with the headline quote, “Bush will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet.” That judgment came from “Saleem Huq, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report on adaptation,” in a 2008 Greenwire (subs. req’d) article on Bush’s legacy.

My piece opened:

Some people just don’t think President Bush has done a terribly good job on climate change.

But just because he single-handedly stopped any international action on climate and reneged on his 2000 campaign pledge to regulate CO2 and stopped California from regulating tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and muzzled climate scientists and forced Congress to drop almost all non-oil-related provisions to cut GHGs from the 2007 energy bill — that’s no reason to think the FHA (Future Historians of America), having previously named Bush the Worst President in American History will award him one of their rare Worst Leaders of All Time Awards, alongside such notables as Neville Chamberlain and Nero.

Okay, that was harsh. But then, most people who rate Bush almost as harshly — say, “A historically bad president, honestly, in terms of damage done to the country and the world and even in terms of even achieving his own goals and the goals of his party and ideological movement” — don’t even bring up climate change, what with torture, failure to stop 9/11, Katrina, Iraq reconstruction, and that whole economic collapse thing.

So it’s safe to say Bush doesn’t have a shot at Mount Rushmore. That said, back in December 2008, the assessment of his record on global warming was of this sort:

“A blank page,” Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace said. “That’s the charitable view. If I were him, I’d be very ashamed to admit to all the negative things that he’s done and the positions he’s taken — which has meant that, since Kyoto, this process has not moved forward very far at all.”

Artur Runge-Metzger, head of a climate change division at the European Commission, tried to be diplomatic. “They have delayed the process for a long time,” he said.

And Keya Chatterjee, deputy director of the U.S. climate program at the World Wildlife Fund, faulted Bush for spending two terms fighting mandatory curbs on domestic greenhouse gas emissions while censoring scientific evidence linking man-made emissions to global warming.

The last eight years have been pretty difficult for the science community at large, but particularly the climate science community, who have felt largely ignored,” she said. “It’ll be a real relief for people to feel like they’ve been listened to.”

Sound familiar?

It’s not like Obama moved the international process forward in a meaningful fashion. And domestically, well, we have no climate bill (or have a chance of one for the foreseeable future), and, as we reported, team Obama launched the inane strategy of downplaying climate change back inn March 2009. The entire climate community still feels largely ignored — see, for instance, the 2011 post by Robert Brulle, who argued, “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.”

No, I’m not saying Obama is anywhere near as bad as George W. Bush. Nor am I even saying Obama deserves very much blame for the climate inaction of the past few years (which mostly should go to the anti-science, pro-pollution ideologues as well as the fossil fuel companies, the feckless media and so on).

I’m just saying future historians, indeed future generations, won’t be grading any of us on a curve because the climate doesn’t care if we meant well but failed. As I wrote on the eve of Obama’s reelection victory:

Obama’s legacy — and indeed the legacy of all 21st century presidents, starting with George W. Bush — will be determined primarily by whether we avert catastrophic climate change.

If we don’t, then Obama — indeed, all of us — will be seen as failures, and rightfully so. As a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report makes clear, anything other than aggressive efforts to slash carbon pollution starting ASAP likely means 7°F  to 11°F warming globally. That would cause substantially higher warming over most of the U.S. and leave much of the “breakbasket of the world” in Dust Bowl conditions much worse than this nation has ever known (see “We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming“).

Bottom Line: Bush is not the only one who “will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet.” If current trends continue much longer, he’s going to have a lot of company.

69 Responses to ‘Bush Will Go Down In History As Possibly A Person Who Has Doomed The Planet’–Or Has Obama’s Inaction Saved W?

  1. BobbyL says:

    Arguably the Florida election in 2000 was the most significant event in the entire short history of the fight against global warming. Instead of having a president who won a majority of the overall vote, wrote a book on climate change, and was instrumental in getting the Kyoto Protocol treaty signed, we wound up with a president who was a global warming denier and who had close ties to the oil industry plus a vice president who was the former head of Halliburton. Nobody knows what Al Gore would have done had be become president but had he dedicated himself to taking on the global warming issue we might not be where we are today, still treading water as the computer models churn out more and more frightening projections.

  2. Jack Burton says:

    Bush was serving his masters in the fossil fuel industry. Clearly Obama is doing the same. The Republican versus Democrat dog and pony show is for the rabble to feel like this is a political system with choice. Nope, by any honest definition, America is a one party state with just a minor difference in the liberal and conservative wing of the one party.
    Those familiar with the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union will know that that one party state has two wings inside the party. One conservative [Stalin style] one liberal [Gorbachev]. America has the “Corporate Party” and inside this one party almost all things are agreed upon, but some things are open to liberal or conservative leanings.
    Do not be fooled, Obama talks liberal and acts as bad or worse than Bush. Study up, this is a fact. Obama is a disaster on a par with Bush, he just talks better and seems more concerned. If you are one of the thousands Obama orders killed every year, you would hardly appreciate his Liberal credentials.
    As to climate. Obama talks the game, while in reality he has given fossil fuel industry control over US energy and climate policy. Why has zero been done you ask? See the previous sentence!

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    All US Presidents these days are front-men, marionettes with the real power pulling their strings. They have proximate controllers in close attendance, like Cheney, to ensure that they are not tempted to try to become independent. Blaming them personally for all the dreadful policy disasters under their watch allows them to fulfill one final purpose for their Masters, to act as ‘fall-guys’, diversions from investigating the true culprits. No doubt they will re-write Bush as a Great American Hero, just like they did after Reagan’s body caught up with his brain. A President who set in train the forces that are devastating US society and making it more unjust, unequal and socially cruel than for decades and decades, and collapsing under the debt that he deliberately fostered as a means to justify destroying Government, the supposed expression of the ‘people’s democratic Will’, was cannonised by a deliberate, carefully contrived PR campaign, planting ‘false memories’ in the minds of millions. Why not GW Bush as well?

  4. Bill Wilson says:

    Waltzing along to the song of growth at all cost the Drill Baby Drill seems now to catch the step with the dressed up All Of The Above. Like Viet Nam each administration lied and could not face the facts that the war was not winable. Drunk on growth the cash cow of Keystone is dangled in front of our government and like Canada the rubber stamps catch on to the tune. Pragmatism is held like a dance partner for anything that works despite the song getting very old. Voting for the president the hope would fade if he does not do the one thing he can and Say NO to Keystone and the dance with doom.

  5. Mark E says:

    Presidential News Op
    (In your dreams….)

    Obama at the sandbagging locale of his choice, sweating shoulder to shoulder with the volunteers. The cameras rolling, a reporter approaches the laboring commander-in-chief

    Reporter: “Mr. President, Why are you here?”

    Obama: “Because these people need help. They needed the help of Congress last year and the year before that to tackle climate change. After all, this is what our National Academy of Science says to expect: longer drier droughts, broken up by bigger storms, heavier rains, and worse floods. Hell and high water. But some in Congress say global warming is all a hoax. Now you’ll have to excuse me, because these Americans up and down the levee don’t have time for bullshit, and neither do I.”

    (Cut to president throwing more sandbags.)

  6. BobbyL says:

    For all of Obama’s failings he is much better than Bush. Under Bush, Cheney held secret energy meetings with corporate lobbyists. The corporations basically wrote the Bush energy policy. Under Obama environmentalists and climate activists have at least had a voice and energy policy was not literally written by corporations. Under Bush, information supporting global warming was removed from important reports by his hand-picked former corporate employees. Under Obama information on global warming has been made easily available to the public and the information is scientifically accurate. Yes, there are important differences between Democrats and Republicans. Yes, we do have two parties rather than one corporate party. But the corporations are extremely powerful and much of the public shirk their responsibility to become informed citizens. Democracy can’t work well with so much money being poured into elections and so many people not living up to their responsibilities to be informed.

  7. Pete Symes says:

    Reagan put us on this path when we were at a crossroads. He offered it and the majority of U.S. citizens that vote chose his offered delusion. Reagan has a special place in historical infamy for his role. But we all helped.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The only difference in my opinion is that Bush the Lesser was less devious, Machiavellian and dissembling than Obama. Bush was an in your face reactionary. Obama serves the same Masters and their purposes, but projects a false image of being different. The Rightwing MSM plays its role by attacking Obama for his non-existent ‘radicalism’. It’s pretty classic confidence-trickery. Obama does allow a few crumbs of progress to be dispensed, knowing that his Republican successor will ‘disappear’ them, or where they actually benefit his main controlling interest-the financial griftocracy.

  9. Mark E says:

    GOAL: Prevent collapse of civilization as we know it.

    PROBLEM: Nonstop economic growth, which grows now, next year, in 100 years, and is still growing in 1,000,000 years.

    NO DIFFERENCE: Democrats have a kinder gentler delusion when it comes to nonstop economic growth forever…. but this kinder gentler delusion will still end civilization as we know it, one way or the other.

    Nothing grows forever.

    Viewed this way, the differences between dems and GOP become rather thin. One is a bunch of lemmings galloping towards the cliff. The other is a bunch which are headed for the cliff at a brisk walk.

  10. Toby says:

    Bush: 0 Out of 10

    Obama: 2 out of 10? Maybe 3, but definitely less than 4.

    Obama, marginally better than Bush, but very far from what the USA, or the World, needs.

  11. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Why don’t you all have a good look at the USA education system? Why have so many people been fooled by the deniers? No social phenomenon has a single determinant and in this case, the education system is definitely implicated, ME

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Ralph Nader on the Bush Legacy: “Bush and Cheney not only lied about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, they also deceived, covered-up, corrupted or intimidated the mass media, bullied an abdicatory Congress, and delivered a false address to the United Nations.”

  13. BBHY says:

    One step that Obama could have done would have been to release the classified transcripts of the Cheney Energy Task Force held in the summer of 2001. There have been reports that he was working with the heads of oil companies to divy up the Iraqi oil fields.

    That was well before the Iraq war, and before the 9/11 attacks.

    Making the transcripts public might have jolted the populace and opened their eyes to the stranglehold the oil companies have on our government.

  14. Raul M. says:

    Thanks Joe,
    Depersonification of the climate is important and helps us all to understand that climate is beyond our likes and dislikes. The climate covers the world.

  15. Superman1 says:

    We would have gotten much stronger speeches, and perhaps some modest Executive action. But, Congress would have opposed anything meaningful, and the bulk of the American public would not have supported anything that remotely required the least bit of sacrifice and inconvenience. In short, if the public isn’t solidly behind it, it won’t get done.

  16. Superman1 says:

    “Why has zero been done you ask?” Because that’s exactly what the vast majority of the American public wants done.

  17. Superman1 says:

    If you’re going to ‘fight’ to save the climate, as many posters propose, you need to insure you’re fighting the right opponent. If you walk into the ‘ring’, and start swinging at the referee, you’re not going to win that fight. The vast global public is the opponent in climate change, and focusing on the suppliers, while comforting, is aiming at the wrong opponent. The suppliers are certainly not innocent, but they’re not the major problem; the public is.

  18. Superman1 says:

    Irrelevant! They, and their parties, both do what the electorate wants them to do. If you can ever get yourself to admit that it is our addiction to the type of lifestyle enabled by fossil fuels that is the central problem in climate change, then you will have taken the first step toward solving the problem. Unfortunately, with this problem, I don’t know what a realistic second step is. The problem may not be solvable in practice.

  19. Raul M. says:

    Thanks Pete,

  20. BobbyL says:

    All of us can speculate but we will never know for sure what would have happened.

  21. fj says:

    This is a wonderful complex problem with the future of humanity at stake.

    How do we dig out from all the noise the right signals we can use to move the situation in the direction that will save civilization?

  22. BobbyL says:

    You can cherry pick similarities and conclude that there is little difference between parties but or cherry pick the differences and conclude that the parties are polarized. It’s all a matter of cherry picking to make a point. Yes everyone in Washington seems to support endless economic growth but nobody has developed a credible alternative.

  23. fj says:

    And, what kind of signals do we require that will allow us to control the situation?

  24. fj says:

    . . . where the controller is a combination of The President and Congress.

  25. fj says:

    And, it seems The President has been direct by indicating that he needs the political capital for control.

  26. fj says:

    So how do we get suitable political capital?

  27. fj says:

    A lot people seem to think that a million people opposed to Keystone XL will provide the suitable political capital which it seems we have right now . . .

  28. fj says:

    Is a million people opposed to Keystone XL sufficient to stop Keystone XL?

  29. Mike Roddy says:

    The US public won’t get behind serious action because they have been soothed and manipulated by our corporate media. That’s where we need to focus our efforts.

  30. fj says:

    We are in a crisis situation with no time to waste.

    The President must be asked if the one million people opposed to Keystone XL is sufficient for him to stop it.

    If he says yes, he must be asked to stop it now.

    He he stops it now this is a good thing.

    If he says it is enough to stop it but not enough to stop it now.

    He must be asked what else does he require to stop it now . . .

  31. Mike Roddy says:

    The public in Sweden, New Zealand, and Argentina know what’s going on. Our problem is message control by the fossil fuel companies, via advertiser pressure on the six main media companies. Nobody escapes- formerly decent organs like Atlantic and LA Times are now horrible, too. Rolling Stone and AlterNet function as pressure release valves only, meant for the young rabble.

  32. fj says:

    We must keep on digging out of the noise sufficient signals to stop accelerating climate change and restore the environment in wartime speed.

  33. fj says:

    This is the pact that the American people have with our government that must act to our benefit.

  34. Mark E says:

    Bob, please do a thought exercise after watching the famous “bugs in a bottle”

    TEST: Is there an important diff GOP vs DEM?

    1. “Cherry pick” what you see as the ten most important differences GOP vs DEMS

    2. Place your list on one side of a scale.

    3. On the other side of the scale please put the ultimate result of trying to grow the economy forever… ecological collapse/failure of ecosystem services/widespread hunger and civic breakdown

    A segregated white male chauvinist feudal society ruled by the Tea Party would be preferable to what (((ALWAYS))) follows unchecked attempts to grow, nonstop, forever,


    Your excellent observation that neither DEMS nor GOP have proposed solutions to this problem reminds me of the person with the disease whose primary care doc couldn’t diagnose it. This fellow insisted on never talking to any other doctors.

    He died, of course.

  35. BobbyL says:

    They also might be concerned about paying higher prices for electricity, gasoline, heating oil, and gas for heating and cooking if a price is put on carbon. These are real concerns for the millions of Americans struggling to send their children to college, save for retirement, pay their mortgages and car loans, etc. I am not sure what the media, “corporate” or otherwise, has to do with such concerns. Probably not much.

  36. Mark E says:

    I dislike the phrase “educational system” because the curriculum is controlled by people who get that power via various politic processes.

    It is more correctly called the “US mental conditioning system”. Long ago the right figured out that the real battle is at the unsung/unsexy local school board level.

    The left hasn’t figured that out yet. I hope the social scientists do more work to figure out what the rewards are for the rights activists on these battle lines, and what rewards the left is looking for. If we undestood this better, we might be able to strategize a Take-Back-The-Schools longterm plan.

  37. BobbyL says:

    And your proposed alternative to continuous economic growth is what? Is there really a feasible alternative to continuous economic growth and ultimate collapse now that we have 7 billion people on board with the number rising?

  38. BillD says:

    If paying a little more for electricity helps prevent the collapse of civilization due to climate change, then we need to pay a little more.

  39. M Tucker says:

    “Bush is not the only one who “will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet.” If current trends continue much longer, he’s going to have a lot of company.”

    Exactly! You can’t pin this on one man or one country. You would need a very large stadium to hold all who are responsible for the world reaching 400ppm without a climate agreement in place.

    But, back to Bush, think about this: before the trumped up war on Iraq the US got no oil from that country. Now, thanks to Bush, we get a fairly sizeable chunk from there. You can pin that on Bush. Bush made a lot of other despicable decisions that we are still dealing with today and Obama is complicit with. Ask yourself this: If no more detainees are being sent to Guantanamo where is Obama sending them? To the US? Not hardly.

    As for the FHA, I don’t pay attention to armatures, students, or not yet born historians who issue awards. If the award came from actual historians I would give it some thought.

  40. Mark E says:

    The first step in finding a solution is to talk about the problem.

    With two exceptions, every scientific discipline tells us that nothing grows forever. One possible thing that might grow forever (the debate still rages) is the expansion of the universe. Nonstop growth of the other things seems to be undeniable: lawyerish fine print and government regulation.

    Seriously, the obvious solution is some form of democratic steady-state economics. How that works – beats me. The Continental Congress did not first convene because they knew the answers; they first met to identify the problems.

  41. SecularAnimist says:

    Superman1 wrote: “Because that’s exactly what the vast majority of the American public wants done.”

    You continue to blatantly lie about public opinion. ALL the available, empirical evidence indicates that the overwhelming majority of the American public do want strong action to address global warming, and significant majorities want such action even if it increases energy costs.

    You have been repeatedly shown this evidence, in the form of multiple opinion polls conducted by a variety of institutions over time. And your response has simply been to claim — on the basis of NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER — that ALL the pollsters are “lying” and that only YOU, in your omniscient wisdom, know what “the American public” really wants.

    The global warming deniers got nothin’ on you, bub.

  42. SecularAnimist says:

    Superman1 wrote: “The vast global public is the opponent in climate change, and focusing on the suppliers, while comforting, is aiming at the wrong opponent.”

    Right. Leave the poor little oil companies alone. They are just doing their jobs. It’s not their fault that ExxonMobil, Koch, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Conoco et al are bribing politicians, corrupting the media, and spending tens of millions of dollars deceiving the public about the urgency of the problem so as to defuse public concern.

    Trying to stop them from doing those things, or trying to counter their efforts, is just so wrong.

    No, it’s all the fault of the evil “global public”.

    What a crock.

  43. kermit says:

    Cancer grows forever. At least, if you define “forever” to be equivalent to “until the host dies”.

  44. john atcheson says:

    I have a problem with this “blame it on Congress” meme. Are the Republicans and DLC Dems Neanderthals? Well, no, actually. It turns out Neanderthals were smart.

    But Roosevelt faced a hostile Congress and a luke warm public and he won them over with … leadership.

    You remember leadership, don’t you? That’s where the President does something other than read polls and react. It’s where they attempt to SHAPE the polls. Not always successful on the first attempt, but it does work ultimately.

    In my opinion Obama is the worst of the two because he knows better. Bush was an ignorant, incurious ideologue controlled by his biases and prejudices — Obama is an enquiring intellect who has chosen to take the easy path, notwithstanding the devastating consequences.

  45. Actually, most of the proposals for taxing carbon require putting some or most of the money directly back into the hands of the people. And in the (not too) long run, the effects of climate change will cost people a hell of a lot more than modest increases in the cost of gas or electricity.

  46. …just like they did after Reagan’s body caught up with his brain.

    Mulga, you’re a genius. Please, please, please write a book of polemic. I mean it. I’ll by 10 copies and give them to my family and friends for Christmas.

  47. Kay says:

    We need to force people in our communities to see those of us who are concerned about climate disaster. Because there is no real media. I like the funeral march the protesters had at the Boston area keystone offices back in March …(Unsure of date) They sang this song…”They’re digging us a hole, digging us a hole…six feet under, they’re digging us a hole” . How about a day of funeral marches in our communities?

  48. Kay says:

    I had also had the idea of going to gas stations with gas masks on (Like the mustard gas ones from WWI) Lots of people doing it. Maybe our cars had something written on them or our tshirts…Guerilla messaging (Kinda like marketing)

  49. BobbyL says:

    We have the best universities in the world. It is not even close. Yet many people who have attended these great institutions go along with the deniers. Letters to the editor of my alumni magazine showed me this first hand. Poor education doesn’t seem to be an explanation.

  50. fj says:

    Supposedly, political capital is the big thing in a democracy.

    Money can buy lots of it and or lots of people.

  51. fj says:

    We are in a fossil fuel civilization and the stasis of business-as-usual is a big opponent as well.

    People work with what they know and we have to figure out how to truly overcome the tremendous inertia of the largest civilization in history to move at climate change with great urgency.

    In a way for this reason, there is much less inertia to overcome in the developing world, an opportune place for rapid development at a much lower cost.

  52. fj says:

    The developing world needs 5.7 $trillion per year to deal with climate change which has to come from the developed world.

    The best investment is in human capital and America, Europe, and China are not bad examples of great returns on such investments.

    There are ways to make this work.

    Something is not impossible if it already exists.

  53. Merrelyn Emery says:

    A highly specialized degree is not a substitute for a solid grounding in basic science, ME

  54. BobbyL says:

    Pew found that the effect of education depends on whether you are a Republican or Democrat. Apparently what we need are more highly educated Democrats and fewer highly educated Republicans.

    “There also are striking educational differences in partisans’ views of global warming. Among Republicans, higher education is linked to greater skepticism about global warming — fully 43% of Republicans with a college degree say that there is no evidence of global warming, compared with 24% of Republicans with less education.

    But among Democrats, the pattern is the reverse. Fully 75% of Democrats with college degrees say that there is solid evidence of global warming and that it is caused by human activities. This is far higher than among Democrats with less education among whom 52% say the same. Independents, regardless of education levels, fall in between these partisan extremes.”

  55. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You ignored my point. Tertiary ed is irrelevant here. When people lack the basics, they follow their beliefs, ME

  56. Raul M. says:

    Just a guess,
    Claiming one has no evidence in ones inventory of knowledge base is different than saying that the thing doesn’t exist. Also looking into the persons knowledge base as if to ask ” are you sure” could be taken as a impropriety by the questioned individual.
    Certainly, the importance of the Earth as a live able place outweighs such considerations of propriety, tninking of the complexity of the natural systems. Knowing that if the yard is mowed lets the owner of the yard know that ones actions do make a difference in the world. Certainly, it is better to be capable of knowing.

  57. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I beg to differ. The real first step, in my opinion, is to realise that we live in a neo-feudal condition where the serfs have no choice, and the moneyed Barons make all the decisions. People do not wish to destroy the planet, but they are given no choice by a system that has deliberately enthralled them in low wages, precarious employment, mountains of debt, and with the fall into a poverty that is increasingly being punished with hideous sadism by the political stooges, just inches away.

  58. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The parties are identical in what counts-service to the rich owners of the country. The ‘polarisation’ is simply age-old ‘divide and rule’ strategy and tactics.

  59. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And the MSM was complicit every inch of the way, while the Web and alternative news was filled with detailed refutation of every lie. A process being repeated, exactly, over Syria, and over climate destabilisation.

  60. BobbyL says:

    You honestly don’t believe that the Democrats are more responsive to the needs of the average person and Republicans are more responsive to the needs of business? You can’t perceive any difference between the parties? You don’t see any real difference when it comes to privatization? It’s all to fool us. Where do the conspirators meet to put together their strategy to divide and conquer? Who is behind this. the bankers? One thing you have to say if all this is true they certainly have fooled a lot of smart people.

  61. J4Zonian says:

    The education system is certainly woeful, but most people in the US are mostly ruined for clear thinking and healthy emoting long before they start school. The dysfunctionalization continues their whole lives, through family, school, work, media, church, government, and all types and levels of community. By the time we’re adults most of the parameters of our lives have been set, including this conservative-liberal dichotomy. Although change is always possible, it’s unlikely en masse because parenting, like schooling and all the rest are a reflection of our sick and skewed society.

    Gregory Bateson called evil “an epistemological mistake”. Jung said it was a failure to face the shadow, M.Scott Peck said “unwillingness to face the pain of self-examination”, pretty much the same. Mary Daly called it Sado-spiritual masochism. Call it what you want–patriarchy, hierarchy, Wetiko disease, the Emotional Plague, psychosis, addiction, species-level autism… it will continue, as Jennifer Stone has said, until we “love our children [and nature] more than we hate our enemies.” Any change in that–or naything important–will have to include not just education but therapy.

  62. Superman1 says:

    The only polls I respect are those driven by deeds, not empty words to a pollster that require no commitment. Having .01% of the American public show up at McKibben’s rally is a more indicative poll. Thirty years from now, when we are at 500ppm, you’ll still be posting here quoting these meaningless polls about how interested we are in saving the biosphere.

  63. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Philip, thanks for your kind consideration. If I ever write a book, it will be for children, not a collection of polemical jibes. They are my calmatives, and they simply release a little of the pressure that builds up during another day in the human lunatic asylum. They are spontaneous and if I sat down to deliberately conjure them up- well it would simply not work.I just enjoy the company of some of the sane inmates who frequent these pages, such as your good self.

  64. Shelly Leit says:

    The public doesn’t want nothing done on global warming because the public doesn’t know much about climate change and the media isn’t helping them learn. So we have to educate the public however we can. The public can’t care about what it doesn’t know much about. The public, by and large, thinks climate change is a problem for the future, way down the road.

  65. Shelly Leit says:

    That said…. The Congress and the President no longer care at all what the public thinks about anything, one way or another. We saw that on the gun issue. If there is money in renewable energy, they will back it, whatever the public thinks.

  66. Superman1 says:

    Your pathological focus on the oil companies at the expense of any focus on public responsibility guarantees the problem will never be solved.

  67. rollin says:

    George W is a republican and followed republican party platforms which do not coincide with environmental idealogy. The decomcratic presidents have not done a bang-up job on that one either.
    If you expect American government at the federal level to get us out of this problem, forget it, they are locked up tight fighting each other. Solutions have to occur at the state level down to the individual level.

  68. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And why are millions of Americans ‘struggling’ in the richest country on earth? It has NOTHING to do with solving the greenhouse emissions disaster.

  69. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There’s no ‘credible alternative’ to death either, but it is considered irrational to embrace it too enthusiastically.