Thursday, July 15, 2010

Everything going well for climate denialists, except for climate

I've been meaning to link to this excellent, long post at Fivethirtyeight on the fall of Australia's Prime Minister, in large part due to the politically-successful decision by the opposition party to stop supporting legislation to fight climate change. Crucially, the PM "strung out" the issue to damage the opposing party rather than quickly passing a good bill, leading the opposing party to dump its rational leader and choosing the "Party of No" attitude instead.

Being destructive rather than collaborative is a good political strategy, as we're seeing in the US, where formerly realistic Republican senators are inventing excuses to oppose climate legislation. Many enviros did very little to support comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation because they prefer bills with no chance of passage, and the next Senate is guaranteed to be worse. Our best shot this year, and it won't get better again for at least two years, is a cap-and-trade bill on utilities only. It's far better than nothing,* but it's only a possibility at this point.

Those of us who think we should do something about climate change need to work harder. Unfortunately, the actual climate as opposed to the political climate is making that clear, as yet again, recent warmth makes the Jan-June period the warmest recorded, and fits yet again as one more unnecessary piece in the mountain of evidence for climate change.

*I should note that I have to see if this reduced-scope legislation still pre-empts some action by the EPA. I'd guess it would still be a good idea, but I'd also be less certain about that.

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