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July 01, 2007

Comments

EW - agreed that global warming is a true existential crisis that dwarves even the nuclear peril of the Cold War - at least in some sense, the US and the USSR were in control of the nuclear arsenal, and MAD was based in some logic, although one of the major corollary effects of MAD was the proliferation of proxy wars in the Third World and the Middle East to avoid direct superpower confrontations. I think your point about seizing the GW initiative as a progressive movement is spot-on, and a way to transform the US from an Imperial Presidency to a Progressive Presidency, because it will require the bully pulpit of the Presidency to marshall the necessary changes. During the previous generational challenge (1933-45), the transformation of American society following the collapse of the original Industrial Revolution economy and the struggle against totalitarianism/fascism, FDR was able to enhance the role of the government, not to restrict personal liberty, but rather to "promote the general welfare" in ways that did not begin to be seriously challenged until the 1980s, when it was just as much the complacency of Democrats to preserve these values as it was the Republicans desire to tear down the New Deal that led to where we are today. During World War II, women entered the work-force, unions were strengthened, the middle class was created, the gi Bill educated millions who would previously never been able to attend college, and the US recognized its privileged position and fortunate geography by implementing the Marshall Plan, probably the most successful foreign policy initiative in history. Because GW cannot be battled in isolation, seizing on it as the centrepiece of US policy, both foreign and domestic would lead to dramatic changes in the world's politics. The only thing that is stopping Kyoto from becoming the new Bretton Woods is the lack of American interest. As well, while GW initiatives can be twisted to support some dubious initiatives, such as the agribusiness lobby and ethanol, it could wrest away a great deal of the power of the military industrial complex - you can't stop climate change with missiles and stealth bombers.

I am so underwhelmed by the current class of presidential hopefuls. The leading candidates from both parties are the "Murdoch" candidates. We know who will gain when either a Clinton or Romney or Guiliani become the next President - the corporate elites. The oligarchy will continue to smile. The cocktail weenies will continue to have their parties and the inside the beltway mentality will continue to thrive and everyone else will be standing outside the palace gates - the new feudalism will get even more ingrained.

The climate crisis and other global and national issues will wait for another generation to be solved when of course it would be even more intractable. I hope the progressive blogosphere does not fall into the trap of any Dem is better and sits out the primary. That's when in my opinion the most change can take place by getting candidates to spill what their real agenda is so the people can see through the fog of spin that will be coming on thick and heavy with all the focus currently on raising money from the big donors who of course come with a heavy price.

Oh, EW, I meant to ask you if you had read Theodore Sorenson's "Acceptance Speech" for te 2008 Democratic nominee. I thought it was magical, and this type of oratory and clarity of message would be crucial in inspiring the public to make the necessary sacrifices. Perhaps it is my Kennedy nostalgia seeping into my analysis (even as Canadians, we Irish Catholics believed that when Kennedy was elected, we had really arrived, and the assassination was an attack on the people as much as it was on Kennedy) but the combination of charisma, intellect and eloquence that Kennedy (and FDR before him) brought to the people by radio and television respectively was extremely powerful. I can see Al Gore accomplishing through the internet what FDR did with radio and JFK in television, and it would suit his personality better.

Ab initio - I hope that your remarks are borne of frustration and not of conviction. What you are saying, in essence is analogous to telling Democrats to sit out the 1932 election until the Depression gets so bad the people won't put up with anything anymore, and besides, the only guy running is some rich New Yorker who won't change anything, so let's wait until 1936 when things are so bad the people will have no choice but to do the right thing. Even in 1936, Roosevelt had to deal with reactionary elements ranging from the Bundists to the conservative religious right of Father Coughlin, to the populism of a Huey Long - if Hoover had stayed in office, with his conservative instincts and reluctance (if principled) to spend federal money or create new federal initiatives, fascism in America may have taken root.

Gore says "Are we so scared of this challenge tha we cannot lead?" Nice way for a politician to frame it. But Marcy's bluntness in stating "Global warming requires the US to set aside its exceptionalism that has formed the rationale for so much violence," frames this global warming responsibility more realistically. Unfortunately, no nation has ever willingly set aside its own exceptionalism. The gulf between what Americans currently are to the world and how our cultural and propaganda arms condition us to believe we are perceived is quite vast.

Off topic: On Late Edition - with Lanny Davis and Ben Ginsberg -
Davis neglects to mention "voter caging lists" which is one of the major infractions of the law -- i.e., with the Bud Cummins -Tim Griffin firing/replacement.

Also, Jason Leopold has an interview with Bud Cummins on truthout.com - fyi

very thoughtful

and very well said.

you're right on the mark from my point of view.

EW:
American apathy will continue despiste the president. To wit the pilars of American democracy had been substituted by people genuine "interest" on their money in the stock market results: CACI, Halliburton, Boing or any of the militar industrial complex companies.

Then you look at another source of Americans alienation: religion in the present form incarnated in this presidency politics were moral depravity trumps everything else.

Meanwhile American people are rapture over the next Hollywood mindless production. Entretainement is the name of the game this is an spectacle society where previously brainwashed people seek to be entretain and relax to forget about not only Guntanamo or Abu Grah, or our our booming prision system disregard for human right, but our credit card debt.

Last but no least least look at another pilar under the form of sports entretnaiment for the masses.

So why an Imperial Presidency, because people are to busy they are to busy with their life, going to church and praiyng for a better tomorrow, while in the present condoming moral depravity by their elect governement; going to sport and entretmaint in order to forget and waiting for the capital returns. What us we want?

So is not only the MSM, those are the most obvious bastards who turn moral depravation into virtues, who want convict liars to be pardon and who run around asking for Freedom of Speach for AIPAC spies and Judith Millers type of characters. I am affraid we get as a president what we offer as a nation.

The project for the foreseeable future for US progressives has to be trying to persuade the hegemon to relinquish its position without dragging down the planet with it. A difficult agenda indeed. Nice contribution this; thanks!

Ab initio-

I have frequently felt the same despair that the moneyed interests will continue their extremely short-sighted campaign to push this country back into feudalism, but have also always felt that the American electorate is partly to blame for the dominance of moneyed interests in our politics. Not only is there very little significant pressure from the public to reform our campaign finance mechanisms, most of the voting public is content to make decisions about its vote on the basis of thirty-second TV spots, which is where much of the big money goes when it serves to win a campaign.

However, the sea change in the political climate in past 18 months or so gives me hope. Here we have had ALL the moneyed interests and ALL the corporate media they control trying desperately to prop up the Cheney administration to keep their little war profits kegger going, and the American public, as lazy and incurious and dependent on predigested TV sound bites as it is, is not buying it. What we are seeing is the triumph of water cooler politics over money politics, aided significantly by that advanced technological water cooler, the internet. It's not a complete triumph (yet) and we around the water cooler have to pony up some real cash in addition to our face-to-face advocacy, but the trend is real, and it may not be readily reversable.

Ishmael

I'm not at all suggesting that the Dems sit out the coming election but instead to become even more active during the primaries. I have noticed that some in the progressive blogosphere like Markos have stated they have no dog in the fight. Maybe they do and will come out at the appropriate time. As I see it the leading candidates in both parties are essentially what I call "Murdoch" candidates - the anointed ones - who get the big bucks to continue the corporate elite hegemony. They will use the big money to obfuscate their real positions and what their real intentions are. So how does the average Dem primary voter make a decision? The only outlet where there is a possibility that these big money candidates can be unmasked is the progressive blogosphere, since its the only independent information and opinion resource. And it has been proven in the last election cycle they could have an impact when they get behind it. The last cycle was primarily about getting Dems elected, although in the primaries there was an effort to get real progressives elected in some races. Since the presidency is so important - its important that the Dems take the primary seriously and not make the error that any Dem is better and as a result not focus which would be the Dem candidate that would best address the massive headwind of the collusion of the elites - political establishment, corporate media and large corporations dependent on taxpayer "subsidies". The only chance the little guy has is if there is information out there that calls the tiger for what it is!

My contention is that if the big money elites succeed in getting their candidate elected again in Nov'2008 then none of the critical issues that impinge on their money making will be addressed. So its not necessarily partisan - its about who is beholden to whom!

mamayaga

I just hope the water cooler does not get infected this cycle. The money virus is very powerful and can overcome the best laid intentions and idealism.

Ab initio - my apologies, I read your words "sitting out the primary" wrongly, you are advocating that the primary season is exactly when the ProgBlog can exert the most influence, as we will have to close ranks with whoever the Democratic nominee is once the nomination is made. And in addition to the ProgBlog, another real check on the primary process is the decision that Al Gore will make - he can change the dynamic of the race instantly by entering the race, and if not, he can ensure that issues other than corporate ones are addressed by the Dem nominee with his profile, and if necessary endorsement of one of the field.

About Time the left needs a general plan of action with regards to themes we really should be pushing. Now how about getting some more Democratic Presidential candidates to prospose some specific actions in regard to these themes that would be the next step I think. Bush is a loser is a great talking point he bankrupted/had to have his Dad's friends buy out how many companies? Well we shouldn't be surprised he taken a Bill's surplus and turned it into more debt than Regean ran up. All because after General Shinski resigned the pentagon generals stoped telling him his plan wouldn't work. I think bringing back the fairness doctrine and breaking up the corporate media is a first step. Made nescesary because Fox News viewers are less informed about Iraq than Comedy Central viewers! I think cable companies should allow free market choice for their viewers just because I want to watch the Daily Show on basic cable I shouldn't have to pay to watch Lou Dobbs on CNN lie about Mexicans speading Leprosy, I'm Mexican by the way. I shouldn't as a Democrat have to pay for Fox News's attacks on Democrats. Cable not newspapers is where many media conglomerates make their money a threaten that and we should see a change in coverage. Not that I want that I want to hurt their wallets and let America choose. I want Fox Lou Dobbs and Glen Beck to realize their the reason why their rattings suck and their networks are in trouble.

I think tying the Enviroment to profits and the American economy is the way to push Enviromentalism. Toyota and Honda can only be expcted to make more money as gas prices stay above $2 a gallon. Ford Motor Companies turn around plan to return to profitabilty depends on lower gas prices since 6 years of war have not done that its time we give piece a chance or the US government bails out Ford and forces them to make hybrid cars. Every dollar we spend on oil is another dollar given to Al Queida rather than spent in the American economy. Tax cuts to the rich is just more money the rich can invest in other countries with higher returns, higher economic growth, and a currency that is not going down in value Foreign Funds are big hits with American investors. Making America a place people want to invest in should be our priority. Google and Yahoo won't even provide a chart on their stock pages that let you backtrack at all never mind 5 years on foreign alternative energy companies.Denmarks Vestas wind systems has more than trippled in the last 2 1/2 years. But I don't see wallstreet or cable news stockpicking shows hyping Foreign Alternative energy stocks. American Alternative Energy stocks need a better energy bill than what the Democratic congress proposed to compete they need to follow Denmarks,Germanies and Spain's example. I wonder if the stock market guys invested in Exxon, Chevron or Halburtron (pushed by Cramer on Mad Money) want to compare their returns to my Vestas (which I should have bought more of). The myth of Republicans knowing business has to be shattered. I personaly run from oil companies, companies that relie on government contracts or that contribute to Republicans or have Henry Kissenger and NeoCons on their boards. I figure if your business is really doing good you don't need to bribe the government. That and as a small investor I can't tell the difference between the Google's and the Enron's.

You are no Edward Teller, Sir!

Sorensen's speech for the next POTUS was very very good and beautifully crafted. I am not so sure about his intent to forgive. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a systemic process to do just that but the difference is the goal to bring down apartheid was achieved. If such forgiveness occurs in the USA, would it not be a repeat of the mistake of pardoning Nixon thus leaving the political players to re-emerge and attempt yet another recurrence of the abuses of power by those in power?

Gore's commitment to environmental issues is very genuine and I have known that since 1996 from my professional carer. He is also very right in shooting down the prevalent right wing talking point of demanding the same sacrifices from all countries. The emerging economies of China and India contributed very little to the mess we are in today. The negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol recognised this implicitly in preferring to emphasise per capita rather than national emissions of green house gases. The Kyoto Protocol was superseded by the Montreal Protocol but neither set targets that are adequate in the light of all we know today.

I was disappointed that Gore did not discuss the pitfalls associated with nuclear energy as an alternative. The refining processes for uranium emit considerable amounts of CO2 and CFC-114, and as such nuclear energy fails to provide any answer to climate changes already occurring. This does not even include the CO2 released in transportation, storage and eventual decommissioning of old and out of date reactors. Also, depleted uranium, the waste product of the nuclear industry, is chemically toxic with a half life of 4.5 billion years.

The irony of corn based ethanol is that production of GM corn requires ever increasing amounts of hydro-carbon based fertilisers although it might save the Mexican economy and reduce the economic migration of the landless poor - perhaps more effectively than any wall.

Sorensen's speech for the next POTUS was very very good and beautifully crafted. I am not so sure about his intent to forgive. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a systemic process to do just that but the difference is the goal to bring down apartheid was achieved. If such forgiveness occurs in the USA, would it not be a repeat of the mistake of pardoning Nixon thus leaving the political players to re-emerge and attempt yet another recurrence of the abuses of power by those in power?

Gore's commitment to environmental issues is very genuine and I have known that since 1996 from my professional carer. He is also very right in shooting down the prevalent right wing talking point of demanding the same sacrifices from all countries. The emerging economies of China and India contributed very little to the mess we are in today. The negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol recognised this implicitly in preferring to emphasise per capita rather than national emissions of green house gases. The Kyoto Protocol was superseded by the Montreal Protocol but neither set targets that are adequate in the light of all we know today.

I was disappointed that Gore did not discuss the pitfalls associated with nuclear energy as an alternative. The refining processes for uranium emit considerable amounts of CO2 and CFC-114, and as such nuclear energy fails to provide any answer to climate changes already occurring. This does not even include the CO2 released in transportation, storage and eventual decommissioning of old and out of date reactors. Also, depleted uranium, the waste product of the nuclear industry, is chemically toxic with a half life of 4.5 billion years.

The irony of corn based ethanol is that production of GM corn requires ever increasing amounts of hydro-carbon based fertilisers although it might save the Mexican economy and reduce the economic migration of the landless poor - perhaps more effectively than any wall.

Sincere apologies for the double post - can't figure out what I did.

One good aspect of the Global Warming issue is that it calls people to a higher purpose, to making sacrifices for the common good, rather than just looking to their own material welfare. I think that many people are getting tired of all the consumerism and hype in this country--the constant new products that one must have (but can't figure out how to work) etc. Valuing friends and family and activities more than things is a way to reduce lifestyle impacts.

The sacrifices don't really have to be all that great IMHO, if everyone does it. If there were fewer behemoth family assault vehicles, small cars would be safer. We got gas and electricity down to below lifeline levels with no sacrifice in comfort. There are immense opportunities in clean technologies, and if we don't do it (like stem cells) then other countries will be the leaders.

My question for you, Marcy, is what will Dingell do. Will he let CA have its own standards as the price (compensation) for not having higher federal standards? Will he be part of a deal of some kind on carbon tax or cap and trade? Or will he just obstruct?

I fail to see that you argue for replacing the imperial presidency. You merely propose to redirect the attention of an imperial presidency to the problem of global warming. We need much more than a new grand slogan, complete with reworded scare messages. We need a complete overhaul of the way we manage our public affairs, beginning with the way we manage our elections, health care delivery, education, taxation, and programs to clean up our air and water.
How can you expect a nation which engages in discriminatory enforcement of its own environmental laws to lead the world anywhere?

And while we need leadership of history proportions on climate change - I really do wish people would quit calling it global warming. And I prefer that we lose climate change as well. We should be calling it Atmoshpheric Carbon Loading or Atmoshpreric Regression or Carbon Poisoning. Because that's what it is - to call it global warming implies that that's the only problem, when in reality the pH changes in the ocean are likely to cause us major harm long before warming gets to us.

Scientific American did an excellent series on how the ocean's are acting as a CO2 sink, and are thus becoming more acidic. This is a very demonstrable fact which leaves much less room for argument that it's not happening. It's scary how close we really are to disrupting the ocean's food chain through the higher ph prohibiting the formation of certain calcium compounds needed to make tiny structures of base crustacians.

That added to the fact that oceanic plankton is declining puts us in very dangerous and immediately dangerous territory. If the phytoplanktons make 40-50% of our oxygen and we lose 10% of it in a decade (which we did in the 90's) Thats 4-5% of the world ability to turn CO2 back into oxygen lost in a decade. We can't keep that up for long or we may yet find a tipping point that puts us in a position of having to worry about asphixiation before rising oceans.

Most people don't know this, but if we turned of the engines and generators today - just quit buring stored hydrocarbons (coal, oil, etc.) TODAY. It would be over a hundred thousand years before athmospheric CO2 levels dropped to the levels they were at just 100 years ago. It simple to understand why, The coal we burned in a century represented millions of years of carbon accumulation by plant life. Why would anyone think plants will be able to store it away again any faster this time around?

Further, when you understand that atmospheric CO2 levals began to rise from the very beginning of the industrial revolution and were rising sharply by the 20's, that our current goals of reducing emissions to pre-1990 or hell even pre-1950 levals are getting us nowwhere fast. What's the correct answer? We've got to cut out the use of fossil fuels all together. It's over. Any use over very early industrial levels still moves us in the WRONG direction. And we don't have much wrong direction left. I'm honestly not sure we have any wrong direction left at this point.

Now that I've depressed the lot of you, let me say that it starts at home. Give consideration to every purchase you make. Look at your home and ask what more can I do to use less energy - Lead by example, it works.

Today, I climbed in my attic and installed a exhaust fan. I installed 16 vents around the eaves. 96% of all US attics are under ventelated. In the summer high attic temperature is a big energy thief. It makes your A/C work much harder. Ventilating an attic is a cheap and easy step toward reducing energy consumption.

And give it some thought before you buy a new car. If you only get a few miles more per gallon, how may miles will you have to drive before you pay back the amount of energy used to manufacture the damn new car? The answer is most of us never will. We have to start buying on a need basis instead of a want basis. Consumption is killing us.

To say that we need a Manhattan Project on energy conservation is the biggest understatement in the history of mankind. We need NOW to through all the resources of our society at this problem. We're way past late on this.

And finally, let me say that this is a moral issue, but it is a big POLITICAL issue as well. The very power structure of our nation is built around continuing to consume oil. So long as oil profit is funding the holding of power or the obtaining of power in this nation we will be fighting an uphill battle. The very foundations of our economic and political stucture must change, and those with power never let go of it easily. The status quo suits their ends. But the ends of man kind now demand a new status quo. It is demanded now. And if everyone in this nation knew what I know beyond doubt, there would be blood in the streets. Big oil and it's champions are killing mankind. There time must end soon for human civilization to have even a CHANCE at a future.

"The Imperial Presidency was essentially the creation of foreign policy. A combination of doctrines and emotions"

Sure, sure, Art. It's all about DOCTRINES, and emotions. It's about RELIGION. What a tirelessly passive, historicized view.

It's about BLOOD MONEY, period.

A conspiracy to defraud the United States and empty her treasury are NOT 'emotions.' Nor is it really doctrinal, except if it is the doctrine of power, serving traitors.

AC? We just open a few windows. And we use the heat only in the mornings and evenings between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. But that's where we live. ;-)

The info about the oceans is very depressing. Planting trees seems important, but nothing compensates for loss of plankton, which would mean loss of whales too. Not our right to do that.

One other point I meant to put in the above post, well two points. Many leading experts, nations and organizations say we need to put a price on carbon emissions. Well, sort of. We need to put a price of carbon extraction. The fee needs to be drawn the moment the hydrocarbon is pulled from the ground. It's a much easier way of tracking it, and it directly affects the cost of consumption. It eliminates need for massive amounts for testing and numbers crunching (and numbers manipulation) and I know I used to do the math.

Secondly, And FUCKING hugely, and this is an idea that I haven't heard anywhere else, but undoubtedly others have thought of it. We have to put value on standing forests.

That is to say, take a government, or an individual today that owns a rain forest, or an old growth forest. That forest has tremedous value as a unit liberating Oxygen from CO2. Yet the person who owns the forest doesn't get paid one thin dime for protecting it, for keeping it standing. In fact about the only way that person or government can profit from the forest, other than tourism if they are so lucky, is to cut it down. They cut it down for the value of the timber, or to convert it to farm land.

And here we are in the old US condeming Brazil for cutting down rainforest, but we won't pay them for the valuable service that rainforests provide all mankind. Somewhere someon needs to do the math on how much CO2 certain types of forest convert back to O2 per year, and the money from carbon extration fees needs to be paid to carbon reduction units - FORESTS.

And Virgin's Richard Branson can quit pretending some technology is going to convert the CO2 in the atmosphere back to O2, Ain't going to happen. I'd be willing to bet that even at 100% efficiency, that generating the energy required to run the fans that would pull the entire atmosphere though this magical device for the required number of air changes, would create CO2 faster than we are removing it.

There is only 1 solution, conservation, clean energy, and plant life. That's the formula, there is nor ever will be any other. Injecting CO2 underground is just dumb.

For one thing, has it not occured to anyone that every time we make a CO2 molecule, one o2 molecule goes away. We breath that people, we can't lock 'em all up and bury them. It's bullshit. In the last 20 years O2 levels have fallen 0.03%, that's small (perhaps 100 ppm) but the theory is that the remaining plants on the earth are synthisizing faster due to higher CO2 levels, but have no doubt there will be a metobolic limit and once we hit the limit, O2 levels will drop faster. Anyway, listen, we're a hell of a long way from not being able to breath, but we are in a finite system, and the outcome is certain - doom for us. The only question is which mechanism will catch up with us first, and how long will it take.

Find a Republican, remind him that he can't breath money. Enough said.

I fail to see that you argue for replacing the imperial presidency. You merely propose to redirect the attention of an imperial presidency to the problem of global warming. We need much more than a new grand slogan, complete with reworded scare messages. We need a complete overhaul of the way we manage our public affairs, beginning with the way we manage our elections, health care delivery, education, taxation, and programs to clean up our air and water.
How can you expect a nation which engages in discriminatory enforcement of its own environmental laws to lead the world anywhere?

Marjie

I'm talking here very specifically about the Imperial Presidency, not the influence of conservatism more generally. Not sure if you've read Schlesinger, but it's a very careful argument about who foreign affairs is the one area where our constitutional is susceptible to the manipulations of a President who wants to accrue more power. But that process happens first and foremost from sowing of fear--waht you call a grand slogan.

Now, global warming is different. For starters, any sound response to global warming is going to require transparency, from our government and from a lot of currently opaque institutions. This will make one method of consolidating power--secrecy--a lot harder to justify. Furthermore, one cannot combat global warming and at the same time invest a huge chunk of your treasury into an oil-dependent war machine--for financial reasons, as well as the need to cooperate and deemphasize petroleum products.

At a basic level, dealing with global warming will force the US to shift foreign policy from a combative hegemonic one to a cooperative one. And that will by necessity dismantle the imperial presidency. That's not a slogan--it's a very specific argument.

So which way is Dingell going to go?

And as the part owner of a small, sustainably managed redwood forest, I like the idea of subsidizing owners not to cut. The cost of planting trees is a deductible business expense, and for large plantings the state sometimes chips in, but it seems it should be worth something extra to let the trees grow as much as possible.

Mimikatz and EW - With Dingell (Conyers too, I might add) there is a bit of a track record with which to predict an answer to Mimi's question, eh?

And by the way EW, I am late to this article/discussion here (Up in Bainbridge Island/Victoria area; spotty toobz and better things to do for once) but this transformation you describe and discuss here is absolutely critical on so many fronts. Not only important in it's own right because the earth's ecosystem fraility, but exactly as you envision as the defining issue from which to lead and bring people together, both domestically and internationally. "Global warming" inherently contains most every significant environmental issue out there. I we could bring a Manhattan Project or Moonshot (Apollo) effort (and I realize those terms are overused hideously) to this issue, coupled with a similar effort on education, that is as close to a magic bullet for our, and the world's general ills as there is. I sincerely hope we can get some normalcy restored to our Constitution, Executive Branch and rule of law soon so we can really focus on this issue. And that is not to deny that the two matters are joined at the hip in a fundamental way, which they obviously are.

The response to global warming has to be multi-pronged. Sprawl is the cheapest thing for a builder to develop, but the most expensive for resource use. Local governments can do a great deal to implement changes in how people live and work -- from street design, to landscaping requirements, to protecting water and food supplies, to tax codes that provide incentives for prudent resource use. Retooling the nation's land use regulations falls to mayors, city managers, county executives, and governors.

Local power (or 'utility') commissioners also make policies that address (or deny) climate change. Utilities tend to be conservative, fat, happy, and risk averse. Nevertheless, both the money and regulatory authority to invest in innovations lie with hundreds and thousands of local utility commissioners across the U.S.

A previous commenter is correct: the oceans are becoming more acidic, and that is ominous. Several climate researchers and oceanographers that I am acquainted with are very grim about this scary reality; they've been tracking 'dead zones' in the oceans, along with species decline, for years. The most alarming losses are at the bottom of the food chain... Enough said. Their findings have suddenly gone 'off the charts' at a far faster rate than was anticipated; the computer modeling five years ago didn't show things spinning out of control so fast.

The only candidate that I've seen connect critical dots is Gov. Bill Richardson. Interviewed at candidates@google.com, he explained how he would use a variety of federal agencies (Housing and Urban Development; Transportation) to address global warming in a practical, coordinated fashion. The other Dems don't articulate this set of relationships well, and the Republicans are embarrassingly ill-informed.

Transparency and accountability will be critical for building the level of trust required to move people into action. The Bush Administration can't provide leadership on anything that matters. In the absense of leadership, state and local electeds and non-profits have started stepping up to the plate. However, addressing this issue on a larger scale requires federal leadership.

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