American politicians will never pay attention to the climate changes fueling natural disasters.
WHEN SHE first learned that she was being considered as President Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton reportedly e-mailed an aide her complete disinterest: “Not in a million years.” Happily, his determined wooing won her over. From a failed presidential candidate who kept her race alive well past the bitter end, and from a polarizing first lady as reviled as she was beloved, Clinton has turned into what one of the London papers recently called “a hard-headed yet compassionate stateswoman who has restored reason and credibility to America’s global mission.” Clinton managed to calm and
In 1986, the then-editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, famously asked whether anyone could find a headline more boring than “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” which had recently appeared on the Times op-ed page. The jibe was really a backhanded compliment, of course—Canada’s virtue was so automatic it could just be assumed. It was big news in Canada when, in 2008, the country slipped from the top-ten list of the world’s most peaceful countries (all the way to eleventh). By this year, it was back in eighth, 74 places above the U.S. and, when liberals in the U.S.
One interesting fact heading into the mid-term elections: Almost none of the GOP Senate candidates seem to believe in the idea that humans are heating the planet. A few hedge their bets—John McCain says he’s no longer sure if global warming is “man-made or natural.” (In 2004, he told me: “The race is on. Are we going to have significant climate change and all its consequences, or are we going to try to do something early on?”) Most are more plainspoken.
This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.