Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Best, Fastest Way to Save the Climate (and It Ain’t Revolution)

For those of us who see climate change swooping down us like a tsunami, the need for urgent action, and I mean URGENT, is screamingly obvious.  But within the movement they don’t seem to understand how to do something about it.  (I know this from being on the inside for awhile.)

Guys!  It’s very simple.   The fastest way to make sweeping changes is to get our President to sign a sweeping international treaty, and then get our Senate to ratify it, by the necessary 2/3rds “super majority”.  Were that to happen that treaty would immediately become the “supreme law of the land”, that they conservative Supreme Court would not be able to overturn.

Now, making that happen is the trick.  If the climate movement had been thinking strategically this autumn they would have been fighting like mad to elect as many climate-friendly senators as possible.  The situation was ripe, we’d just had a summer filled to the brim with the devastating consequences of global warming – fires across the mountain west, devastating heat across the nation, a drought obliterating crops across the grain belt.  People understood that climate change was indeed upon us.  The climate movement did NOTHING to influence the election.  In fact Bill McKibben started his big push November 7th, the day AFTER the election!  Climate activists from coast to coast screamed bloody murder when climate change wasn’t mentioned in the debates for the first time since the eighties, but it was the climate movement’s own fault for not forcing the issue, which they could have done! 

Now, we’ve just had this horrible summer AND this monstrous hurricane.  The president could and should be pushed to call for an emergency international climate treaty summit to do something about it.  But the movement’s doing nothing to pressure him.  McKibben’s plan is to protest at the White House on President’s Day and then meet with international protesters in Turkey next summer to plan a year-long buildup of climate opposition.  What if there’s a war, what if Obama’s moment diminishes and climate deniers in the House and Senate gain strength?  This moment could easily be lost!

If the movement gets aggressive with street actions and non-stop demands in the next few months, we could force the President to call for this summit.  He’s already said he wants us to create a public groundswell to push climate action.

Then our job would be to get the necessary 66 votes in the Senate.  We could do that too, with a lot public pressure on the more reasonable Republican Senators. 

Other nations, such as China, have recently also been unwilling to sign a treaty, but that's mainly because they know there's no way the U.S. Senate will agree to it, so they don't want to be bound to a treaty we're not bound to.  So if we make sure the U.S. will lead on this and adhere to it, we can bring the whole world along.

But none of it’s going to happen if this movement doesn’t start thinking urgently and strategically, and asking something of it’s members more than once every few months.

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