Monday, July 26, 2010

Climate change legislation dead for now

 Three of the four lead editorials in the New York Times this morning bemoan the death of climate change legislation in Congress for this year.  I've been somewhat torn between the position of "Pass the bill, it's better than nothing" and "The bill is lousy, why institutionalize bad policy?"

Lee Wasserman's editorial comes the closest to explaining why the bill died.  His fourth point is the one that hit most home to me-- ma7ybe because it's the one point activists can do something to change:

Thread No. 4: The public sits it out. American history has few examples of presidents or Congresses upending entrenched interests without public pressure forcing their hand. Teddy Roosevelt is on Mount Rushmore for a reason.
Citizens wouldn’t support an approach they couldn’t understand to solve a problem our leaders refused to acknowledge. Even the earth’s flagging ability to support life as we know it couldn’t stir a public outcry. The loudest voices insisted that leaders in Washington do nothing.
They obliged.
We need an analysis that can place such apparently disparate pieces of our lives as the cost of good food, the prevalence of McDonald's and Burger King, lack of jobs and public transportation, winter heating costs, the upsurge in asthma and the BP oil spill into a single picture.  We've got work to do.

Photo from Squiffy's House of Fun.

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