The Inconvenient Truth on the Campaign Trail

JohnnyRook for Daily Kos makes the unavoidable point:

No candidate, even if he or she truly understands the urgency of dealing with the climate crisis, is going to say what really needs to be said about global warming until after they are elected. The reason: if they do they won’t get elected. (FDR didn’t start talking about the New Deal until his inauguration speech.)

The simple truth is that the people who understand the magnitude of
the problem and the magnitude of the required solutions are a small
minority.  Why just from Mike Huckabee’s poll numbers one can
extrapolate that at least 30% of the US population still doesn’t even
believe that it’s real.

Talking bluntly about the true nature of the problem that we face
and the size of the commitment that it’s going to take to solve it
would be the kiss of death for any presidential candidate because the
expense, discomfort and dislocation involved in solving it are just too
big for most people to grasp and accept on their own without much
larger "natural" disasters than we’ve had so far.

Agreed, but please note that in every Obama speech I’ve heard in the last two or three weeks he has brought up "the planet in peril." Rook calls for the president elect to speak on climate change every week. Obama (in his poetic way) has been doing that on the campaign trail. Last night he said:

It’s a game where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns
record profits, while you pay the price at the pump, and our planet is
put at risk. That’s what happens when lobbyists set the agenda, and
that’s why they won’t drown out your voices anymore when I am President
of the United States of America.

"Our planet is put at risk." Maybe that’s not enough, but it’s a start, Mr. Rook.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “The Inconvenient Truth on the Campaign Trail

  1. MONEY QUESTION: Do you think the world will react in time to prevent catastrophe? Professor James Lovelock, of Gaia theory (which states living and nonliving parts of the planet interact and can be viewed as a single organism] fame, believes that by the end of this century humans will be forced to live in small areas near the poles. Do you agree?

    RAPLEY: When Jim published his book, The Revenge of Gaia, I knew why he said what he did, but I have to say I thought he was in an extreme position. I did not think that all was lost.

    What’s been happening since then, particularly with the melting of summer Arctic ice and the acceleration of loss of ice from Greenland and bits of the Antarctic… I’ve got this sneaky feeling that he may have been more right than we appreciated at the time.

    I think the evidence is moving his way, although I suppose I don’t wish to believe (that]. He was saying the climate system had gone through a tipping point. There is growing evidence that he might just be right, that we might have already committed ourselves to a different planet.

    On the other hand, you have got to be careful not to overdraw the “hope budget” and make people feel that this is hopeless. We’re still obliged to take action.


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