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The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 1.5

By Joe Romm  

"The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 1.5"

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Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Tom Toles for thee!

The Pulitzer prize-winner once again shows a cartoon is worth a thousand tweets — plus a bonus Meat Loaf video below:

c_07252010.gif
Don’t be sad, as Meat Loaf reminds us, two out of three ain’t bad!

Hmmm:

You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street.

But you will drill for oil and ruin your sandy beach….

Related Post:

For people who can’t be bothered with links, I suppose I’m gonna have to repeat this in every one of these posts so as not to be misunderstood by those who aren’t regular readers and didn’t see my June 30 post (“Republicans demagogue against market-oriented climate measures they once supported“).

Most of the blame should go to the anti-science, pro-pollution ideologues. They have spread disinformation and poisoned the debate so that is no longer even recognizable.  Who could have guessed just  a couple of years ago, that the GOP  champion of climate action would now trash  a bill considerably weaker than the one he tried to pass twice? (see Rolling Stone on “The Climate Killers: 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb the climate catastrophe.”)

And if you are keeping score at home in the blame game, the media is the second most culpable group for their generally enabling coverage “” see Must-read (again) study: How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics “” “The media’s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress.” along with And the 2009 “Citizen Kane” award for non-excellence in climate journalism goes to “¦

Those two groups deserve about 90% of the blame (60-30?), I think (assuming that we assume the 60 vote antidemocratic super majority requirement is unchangeable).  The other 10% goes to Obama and his team (along with Senate Democrats, scientists, environmentalists, and progressives) “” and let’s  not forget the “Think Small” centrists who  also helped shrink the political space in the debate (see “Michael Lind of the New America Foundation misinforms on both climate science and clean energy“).

From a historical perspective, though, that apportionment of blame won’t rescue Obama from being perceived by future generations as having a failed presidency.  It just means they will probably be far more bitter toward the conservatives who spread pro-pollution, anti-science disinformation and demagogue even the most moderate, business-friendly, market oriented, GOP-originated solutions.

‹ Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral

Washington Post headline says it all: “GOP lawmakers optimistic about ‘no’ votes” ›

41 Responses to The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 1.5

  1. FishEagle says:

    Hardly surprising.

  2. Ben Lieberman says:

    What’s the next stage in this process after the despair and anger? Yes, there’s could cause to be angry, but there will be a lot of time for that if the climate crisis continues.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Update on The New York Times

    Wow. The New York Times’ columnists are speaking out, today. But, the news coverage of the climate change and energy issues in the Times (on the front page and the main news coverage) is still — and has been — dismal.

    Someone ought to do an analysis and “paradigm examination” — putting The Times on the couch, so to speak — to figure out what is up. Let’s talk to Bill Keller and the front page folks. Perhaps they had some bad childhood experiences with actually recognizing and reporting facts? Perhaps they missed classes in journalism school that discussed what “the public good” means — or do they not discuss that in journalism school? Perhaps their bonuses are directly linked to ExxonMobil profitability? I don’t know what it is, but someone should try to figure it out, and why not ask them directly? After all, any analysis of the coverage itself will easily show the glaring problems. The question is not whether there are problems. The question is, Why?

    Andy Revkin has indicated that he will write an open letter to the news media regarding his assessment of the media’s coverage of climate change and his thoughts on what, if anything, should be done differently. I hope that will be helpful in some substantial way. We’ll see.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  4. paulm says:

    Conspiracy theory 1.1: Maybe Obama won because he was backed by Big Oil….

  5. homunq says:

    Obama’s not stupid. He demonstrated with his stance on the war that he can see past today’s beltway groupthink (or at least, that he could when he didn’t live inside the beltway). It took 9 years for that vision to pay off for him.

    Maybe Cho should have a serious talk with him. What is the expected value of the economic losses from climate change in the next 9 years? How about when his daughters grow up?

    Once he realizes the urgency, he will have to consider what needs to be done. I believe him that, even with his strongest pressure, there just aren’t 60 votes for a good bill. So the only alternative is filibuster reform. It’s an uphill climb, but with Republican obstructionism literally off the charts from any historical precedent, I think it’s doable.

  6. EricG says:

    I’ve gotta say, I take great issue with this “Failed Presidency of Barack Obama” story line. Yes, almost all the legislation passed by this Congress has fallen well short of what we need, not to mention needed legislation that can’t get passed at all. And it appears to me that President’s Bully Pulpit was woefully underutilized. But I’m highly cynical that there is a strategy out there that could have done better.

    Our “democratic” process of government does not serve the country well. Special interests with money undermine what little democracy remains. The Internet has almost eliminated knowledgeable, rational, truth-seeking discourse. Our culture does not value sacrifice, however trivial, for the greater good. The American electorate is ignorant and lazy. And, as ridiculous as this seems, the crisis is not sufficiently disruptive to force any of this to change.

    Obama is certainly not perfect, but I see no evidence that he could have accomplished much more than he has. We live in the real world, where our fantasies hold no weight. This winter of our discontent is still very young.

    [JR: We disagree on whether he could have accomplished more. I doubt we disagree on whether he could have tried a lot harder. I wouldn't have minded so much if he had tried as hard as he did on health care reform and then failed. But the point of this cartoon and this series is that he didn't. He didn't give a single major speech to the public on climate change -- heck, he didn't even show up for the launch of the major U.S. impacts report last year.

    Read Part 1.]

  7. A Siegel says:

    Come on, Joe & Tom, 2 of 3 would get you Hall of Fame in baseball. http://getenergysmartnow.com/2010/07/26/two-out-of-three-aint-bad/

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    You blame obama because for the inaction of the senate. Do you think if he makes a speech that out of a sudden a single republican or the negative democrats swing in favor?

    What bothers me (according to some news) is that we are now left with an energy bill which seems it was written directly by big oil (offshore & natural gas/methane greenwash).

  9. john atcheson says:

    To those who believe it’s too soon to judge Obama’s presidency a failure, consider this: The administration is always asking folks to consider how bad the economy would be if we hadn’t had the stimulus. Fair enough. But it’s just as valid to ask: How much could we have accomplished in climate, health and financial reform if the President had led, instead of following polls and listening to Rahm Emanuel, Axelrod and other Wormtounges.

    And the answer is: much more.

    Political cowardice — or if you’re feeling charitable,political machinations, has a cost, and we’re all paying it.

    In ordinary times, that might be merely regrettable. In these times it is catastrophic.

    If Obama isn’t willing to take risks to save the country and the world, then he should step aside. These are times that demand great leaders.

  10. Fred Teal says:

    If you don’t push until you fail, you are not pushing enough. Obama needs to push on climate change until he either succeeds (gets a significant carbon tax) or fails. In any event it will become a major issue in the eyes of the public and will spawn a national debate led by the President. We need this debate desperately. We are running out of time.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    The blame goes to everybody if we do not act on climate change. Yes i believe it’s too soon to judge Obama’s presidency a failure. We don’t have to wait years for another climate bill push. With rising temperatures the situation will just get worse – not better. You cannot win this topic by ignoring it. Actually because of the fundamental nature of climate change any attempt to keep status quo is doomed to fail.

  12. RH factor says:

    Weather extremes here and around the world are the daily flashing neon lights of AGW. The question becomes “does the ridiculous weather gather enough attention to have cause & effect as to not have the ridiculous weather” on it’s own, in human or geologic time scale.

    I’m pessimistic, but every record broken, every tornado in northern New England etc is the attention gathering event that will one day (and I hope soon) when the average masses say “Ok that’s it, this is just too much” we have got control CO2 NOW!

    A little more patience? Will mother nature come through for the bill board ceremony or are we the proverbial frog in simmering pot.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    The blame Obama game http://www.grist.org/article/2010-07-26-the-blame-obama-game/

    [JR: People quote me without reading me. I suppose that's a compliment. Had he read the post, or CP regularly, he'd know how I ascribe blame. But I suppose I'm going to have to repeat that piece in every post.]

    Of course, once presidency can be a failure even if one isn’t the principle cause of that failure!]

  14. Bob Wallace says:

    Obama gets a major health bill passed. Something that hasn’t happened in 100 years of trying. It covers almost all (if not all) of the problems identified.

    Obama gets derivatives out in the open and makes it likely impossible for “too big to fail” financial institutions to take the US and world economies into a depression as they almost did. (As he pulled us away from the brink at which the Bush Massive Recession becomes the Bush Depression.)

    These are major accomplishments. And there are many other important accomplishments as well.

    And he most likely would have signed a climate bill had it not been for the BP disaster taking everything into a non-productive direction.

    To even suggest that Obama has been a failure is intellectually dishonest. People are letting their emotions speak for them rather than their brains.

  15. thomas says:

    Failed presidency in a year and a half? Cut the guy a break. After all, it was on this blog that I read again and again in 2009 how we could get a better climate bill in 2010. That turned out to be the exact opposite of what everyone is saying now: 2009 was the time for a climate bill.

    [JR: Yes, well, I laid out what Obama needed to do to get a better bill in 2010. He didn't do it. My mistake was thinking that he would. In an alternative universe where we have a different president who doesn't push health care reform (and screw up the messaging horribly) and instead of aggressively makes the case for and lobbies the Senate for climate action, we could indeed have gotten a better bill in 2009 than the no-bill of 2010. But I'm afraid that is an alternative universe that doesn't exist.]

    I am disappointed about the lack of progress so far (on climate – on everything else I think Obama’s success has been astounding). But, the Obama presidency isn’t over yet, and thinking that it is means you are folding to the Republicans and the Tea Party more than any elected official. November 2010 and November 2012 are not foregone conclusions. Hell, if Bush can get re-elected then surely Obama can.

    And maybe if we are going to play the blame game, we should also look to the two guys who couldn’t beat Bush: Gore and Kerry. For Gore, we need to wonder why the climate movement has been all but non-existent to anyone not already involved (and why the preferred demonstrations have been symbolic mush). And for Kerry, as far as I can tell he did with climate exactly what he did for his presidential campaign. Instead of coming up with something that mobilizes the base, he took steps that isolated the base in a failed attempt to get the support of the other side.

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    JR, #12 ” But I suppose I’m going to have to repeat that piece in every post.”

    I think constructive critique is a good thing but to start out with calling it a failed presidency is where i disagree – as Eric noted too. I still expect that Obama will engage in the debate – just not now.

    [JR: Sadly, there is a tide in the affairs of men and planets. There is no possibility of comprehensive climate action in the next two years, and only a small possibility of utility-only action (and that would require Obama to put in a great deal of muscle). Right now, those who are hoping Obama is going to enable climate legislation must hope 1) Republicans do not take back either house this year and 2) Republicans are stupid enough to nominate someone like Palin who allows Obama to have an overwhelming victory in 2012 a la Reagan or Johnson. And THEN he would still have to put in a great deal of muscle long after a chance for global climate legislation or serious funding for clean energy had died.]

  17. catman306 says:

    day location of flood
    Friday Wisconsin
    Saturday Chicago
    Sunday DC-Philadelphia
    Monday Coweta County Ga Newnan
    http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/24388302/detail.html

  18. EricG says:

    @Joe #6: Yes, the lack of a major speech on energy/AGW is, I agree, a major omission. An energy policy road show led by Al Go… well, someone, could have changed minds too. I just don’t think that those activities would have changed the outcome. Maybe I’m just cynical.

    I’ve been saying for years that we’ll get serious about AGW around the time we start building dikes around Manhattan. Nothing has happened in all that time to change my mind.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    JR, #15 “There is no possibility of comprehensive climate action in the next two years”

    I really can’t believe that.

    [JR: Oh, it's pretty darn certain. I guess I will have to do a blog post on that. But you do realize that there are going to be a lot fewer supporters of climate action in the next Congress and their success in this Congress will convince them that their strategy of "no" worked.]

  20. Wit'sEnd says:

    “Despite climate change being the greatest challenge of our time, with millions of people facing inundation, starvation and conflicts over scarce resources, the White House directed advocates not to discuss it. At a meeting in April 2009 led by Carol Browner, the White House coordinator of energy and climate policy, administration message mavens told climate bill advocates that, given the polling, they should avoid talking about climate change and focus on green jobs and energy independence.”

    From Lee Wasserman, director of Rockefeller Family Fund

    I seem to remember a post here on CP along the lines…Can you do anything about climate change without talking about climate change…

    In my opinion, you can’t solve a problem without acknowledging you have a problem in the first place. Feel-good predictions about fast electric cars and clean energy jobs are not going to convince people to make the fundamental changes required.

    I’ve been told to stop scaring the children (!)

    It’s the grown-ups who need to be scared. Nothing less will be sufficient to usher in a comprehensive paradigm shift from perpetual expansion to sustainability.

  21. Wit'sEnd says:

    here’s the link to Wasserman’s whole piece:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-wasserman/four-ways-to-kill-a-clima_b_659156.html

    [JR: Very flawed analysis.]

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Now if we can put a carbon tax into the bill … resurrection!

  23. BobbyBob says:

    Isn’t all this Obama “failure” business just playing right into the GOP hands? Isn’t this EXACTLY what they want to happen? Wouldn’t it be better to extol all the things that have gone well, and totally blame the GOP and media (if they weren’t so dumb as to listen to all the deniers, the deniers would be irrelevant) for the lack of climate legislation? I think this is a dangerous game of kicking Obama before he’s even down because it just increases the chances that the GOP will take over your country if the public just keeps seeing the words “failure” and “Obama” in the headlines over and over.

    [JR: I wish the public read this blog. They are, in reality, not my audience. My political posts are pretty much apportioned with the blame. Most are about the pro-pollution anti-science disinformers who obfuscate the science and the right-wing ideologues who demagogue the issue. Then we have the post on the status quo media. And finally a handful of posts on the White House.]

  24. When I get depressed about how things are going on this planet I visit the beach and spend some quality time with the baby birds.

    Whatever action the Congress ever finally gets around to doing (if it ever does so) will amount to nothing more than: Too little, too late.

    At this point there is no reason whatsoever to hope for any sort of positive outcome to the human story. Our species is very much living as if it prefers dying. Throughout the history of the planet no animal has ever worked so hard at self-extermination.

    The global economy is built upon the accelerated consumption of resources until they are entirely depleted. For centuries humankind has received warnings from scientists about the unsustainability of civilization. Yet our species blindly marches ahead to its date with destiny.

    Thank God that there were plenty of baby birds on the beach today. Humankind has thoroughly exhausted my soul.

  25. john atcheson says:

    David:

    That beach thing doesn’t work if you live on the Gulf.

  26. Bob Wallace says:

    I’m not sure that prior to this month was the right time to pass a climate bill. I’m not sure a good bill could have been passed. The strategy of using any avail funds (lots of stimulus money) to boost renewables and conservation might have been best for the conditions at hand.

    Now, with people worrying less about the economy and health care, there are more receptive ears for taking care of other big problems.

    Add in the very hot summer, extreme rainfalls, and continued melting ice and the number of deniers must be falling. At least their audience must be drifting away.

    Each month that goes by sees more and more large corporations entering the renewable energy business. And more and more corporations realizing that climate change can hurt their business and that high energy bills are hurting their bottom lines. Climate change has reached profit/loss status in the business world.

    Each month that goes by sees more and more people understanding that renewable energy actually works. And that it creates jobs.

    Sure, we’ve lost some time in getting to 20% by 2020. But we’ve gained political support for a bill that will actually do something.

    [JR: Quite the reverse, I'm afraid. While public support has grown, support inside the DC Beltway by key senators has not.]

    Just look at how the New York Times columnists are now singing a new tune. There has been a shifting of the zeitgeist.

    [JR: The key NYT columnists have been singing this tune for a couple years now. The news in science divisions, however, continue to crater.]

    It’s not clear that Democrats will loose control of Congress (either house) this fall. If they don’t then things will be good for a strong energy bill next session. If they do loose control then there will be little reason to not shove through a bill during the lame duck session. Even some Republicans should vote for a climate bill if their next election if far enough away.

    [JR: Wanna bet.]

  27. BobbyBob says:

    “JR: I wish the public read this blog.”

    I don’t want to start an argument, it’s just an observation, not an attack; the point of my post was more to point out something that I see happening more and more all over the place, not just here; and you probably do know better than I…but I AM part of the public, your site has been listed several times on Time magazine (which is how I found out about it), you have been on Letterman, you were a speaker at Earth Day, you are in newspapers, you post on other sites, etc, etc…I’m just sayin’ I think more of the “public” reads this blog than you think.

    I also know you are just calling it like you see it, but I once heard Bill Maher point out that it seems the “Left” is always concerned about being correct, and the “Right” is always concerned about winning. I can’t help thinking that this kind of thing is a good example.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    The most intriguing concept of climate change is the circumstance of a global phenomenon. The USA was till 2010 the main emitter – no matter how you turn it or what your goal is – the solution has to be global.
    If we stop all emission today the temperature will keep rising. Lovelock estimates that if all farmers worldwide would adopt biochar into their agriculture techniques we could eventually offset global warming.

    You require quick thinking now to stay on top – that means the next economy will be clean and offers opportunities for everybody and global markets. If we refuse to acknowledge the serious projections of science and refuse to adapt – update, civilization will eventually collapse.

  29. Richard Miller says:

    Joe,

    Your reflections on the Wasserman piece would be much appreciated in a future blog. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ lee-wasserman/ four-ways-to-kill-a-clima_b_659156.html

    Shortly after Obama became president, Steven Chu said that Americans do not realize at a gut level what we are talking about, we are talking about the possibility of the end of agriculture in California. If you noticed Chu does not talk that way anymore, it is all about clean energy.

    Does Obama not understand in his gut what we are talking about? If he does, then he cares more about not taking any risks with his political future than he does about his children. If he doesn’t, then he inexcusably has protected himself in his own echo chamber from the reality that John Holdren and Steven Chu surely know about. Or he is monumentally arrogant and has deluded himself that he can deal with the climate change problem on his terms, not nature’s terms.

    After attacking fossil fuel interests, and their Republican hacks that they have bought, I think the Obama administration has a lot to answer for. When you speak about the scale of the problem and the possible consequences, then I think it is not out of line to to speak of the failed presidencey of Obama.

  30. Rockfish says:

    “…their success in this Congress will convince them that their strategy of “no” worked.”

    I’m a LOT more worried about what their strategy of “yes” might look like!

  31. Bob Wallace says:

    Bob: Sure, we’ve lost some time in getting to 20% by 2020. But we’ve gained political support for a bill that will actually do something.

    JR: Quite the reverse, I’m afraid. While public support has grown, support inside the DC Beltway by key senators has not.

    By political support I meant public support for political action. And I really doubt that any of the pro-climate bill senators are less interested in passing a good climate bill. It’s more likely what they are saying that the ability to pass one right now is not good. We are only a few months away from elections and people who wish to maintain their seats can’t afford to take risks.

    Democrats are already in trouble because jobs have not been created as fast as all would wish. And the public is only gradually understanding what benefits the health bill is bringing them. Taking on another piece of ‘need to explain, a lot’ legislation might be too much right now.

    And wanna bet what?

    That Democrats might not loose control of congress? There’s no prediction there on which to bet.

    That there is a possibility that they can cram through a climate bill in the lame duck session if they do loose control of the next congress? Again, on what would one bet?

    Obama and Co. made a good run at getting four big legislative changes through this first two years. They made it with financial reform and health care. They’ve missed (so far) with climate and immigration.

    There’s still the rest of this second year plus two more years of Obama’s first term. If he can accomplish half as much in his second half term as he managed in his first half he will have an outstanding record.

    In the meantime we need to work to convince more people that we must have good climate legislation and must transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

  32. It’s one thing to stay on the issue of climate change and on the Obama administration’s handling of the issue.

    It’s another thing to persist in this failed presidency campaign. Just what is your political alternative for president to Barack Obama? And just what is the advantage to you of a powerless Democratic president who basically agrees with your position? The Republican leadership has announced that among its top priorities is defeating any legislation on climate. You are playing with political fire here.

    When you decide to return to rationality I’ll return to reading you.

  33. Ben Lieberman says:

    The very fact that as Joe points out the political situation is going to very possibly be worse in the immediate future means that it is necessary to broaden and expand the methods employed to pass a bill.

    On another note, Ross Douthat revealed today at the New York Times that he (1) believes the right blocked a climate bill (2) personally believes that global warming is real but (3) thinks that inaction is fine and dandy. This is a truly reprehensible piece that deserves some attention.

    [JR: It's on my (long) list.]

  34. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Richard – re 29 -

    Your post is much appreciated here, not least for its effectively simple language.

    The central paragraph -

    “Does Obama not understand in his gut what we are talking about? If he does, then he cares more about not taking any risks with his political future than he does about his children. If he doesn’t, then he inexcusably has protected himself in his own echo chamber from the reality that John Holdren and Steven Chu surely know about. Or he is monumentally arrogant and has deluded himself that he can deal with the climate change problem on his terms, not nature’s terms.”

    lays out the reasons why for me the conventional explanations of Obama’s apparent idleness do not mesh with his circumstances.

    If he cares for his children, which seems a reasonable assumption, then it follows that he is balancing risks for the best, not hiding from them, and that that balance has somehow required him to avoid discussion of the climate issue when in public (sentences quantified at between one and two per month so far, by my own count).

    That restraint cannot be about fear of blowback from the right, for the climate bill’s dying-snail failure has much enlivened them, as was entirely predictable. And short of some major ‘preparational’ success – such as a fair and efficient response to the inundation and wreck of Miami, the prospect of a carbon cap on the USA is currently receding towards some unexplored horizon. Again, predictably.

    Which is a pity because a carbon cap is just the thing rather urgently needed by the US, both diplomatically and economically. But it would appear that the last administration’s unusual expertise in diplomacy has painted the US into an adamant corner, while the science, the economics and the diplomacy have moved on.

    In this context his selection of Chu and Holdren for their unique talents within the administration can be seen as an expression of his very serious concern for the climate.

    Without the bill, the USA now has nothing much to offer diplomatically but promises, patents, significant technical expertise, some treasure, sundry levers and prods, and, potentially, its formal acceptance of negotiating an equitable basis to the global allocation of national emissions rights. The latter, according to governments from across the scales of population and development, need to converge to per capita parity over time, while also contracting toward a minimal global output just as soon as proves sustainable.

    As yet there is no mention of this widespread preference in the US media, so the US public drifts on in ignorance of this as of other aspects of our climate-dependent prospects. Yet the reason for Obama’s idleness was so pressing, outweighing the politics, the science, the military, and the compassion, that he chose to do nothing even to address that inevitable need for public education, let alone to expose the propagandists of denial.

    So what else than the sterile inherited stand-off with China, Bush’s ‘Brinkmanship of In-action’, could wield that much clout over the POTUS’s freedom of speech, while also being impossible to acknowledge ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  35. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    A general point -

    Joe’s post appears to assume that there is no particular likelyhood of Obama being motivated to throw heart and soul into backing a new bill, as would be required for success, particularly considering the probability of still less favourable circumstances for its negotiation and debate.

    I’d share that position, qualified by the possibility of a stringent review of Obama’s inherited diplomatic strategy, whose replacement could change all considerations.

    So why do those who still see a serious prospect of legislation of a US carbon cap foresee Obama’s critical participation as being more likely next time round ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Lewis Cleverdon, #35 “So why do those who still see a serious prospect of legislation of a US carbon cap foresee Obama’s critical participation as being more likely next time round ?”

    First off the proposed bill’s didn’t deliver the required target. Secondly you have the foot in the door already with the EPA regulating Co2. Third the public for the most part seems unaware – largely because of corporate interest in the status quo. Otherwise you would have people on the street demanding an end to fossil energy.

    It seems now that corporate driven interest try out geoengineering – which will not work. There will be momentum from some large scale events and from smaller events over time. The gulf event is a long term effect which will also add to the need for action.
    So to answer your question i think, it can happen anytime :)

    As we wait for the start of serious action on climate targets and keep burning fossils rather than removing the situation will get worse and accelerate further. The chances of hitting tipping points will also increase – russian roulette. Again the problem will not go away and will gain in importance.

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    climate change legislation “will happen; it has to happen for the country. . . . The question is when and how. That’s what we’re working on.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072605538.html

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Just as Reid knew a carbon cap couldn’t get the 60 votes now needed to get anything passed in the recalcitrant Senate, ultimately the threat of global warming didn’t galvanize the public to the point where they would demand change. There are lots of reasons for this—disinformation campaigns by fossil fuel interests, the overblown controversy of “climategate,” a media corps that too rarely puts global warming in the right context. But until that changes—and the public demands change—ambitious climate legislation will remain dead. http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2010/07/26/why-the-climate-bill-died

  39. jcwinnie says:

    Meat loaf again?

  40. fftf says:

    I think we should be pushing for a simple federal gas tax, and a straight forward Hansen like carbon fee on top of it. $5/gal gasoline would motivate change over to electric cars (which are already selling), and fee-and-dividend would put more money into pockets of consumers.

    Popular move with much less room for WallStreet scams compared to cap-and-trade.