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U.S. politicians talk about climate change

people with talk bubblesWhile U.S. politicians blithely ignored the environment for most of the last decade (and the last century), the 2008 election marked a visible turning point — in rhetoric, at least. John Edwards got things rolling by adopting a goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050; his Democratic competitors, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, saw his target and raised him 100 percent auctioned pollution allowances. On the Republican side, the most climate-concerned candidate won the primary, and though John McCain didn’t offer up a particularly aggressive (or internally consistent) climate plan, he never backed down from saying climate change was a real problem. Many Democratic Senate candidates put climate action in their platforms. Meanwhile, on the local level, more than 1,000 mayors — Republicans and Democrats — pledged to reduce their cities’ greenhouse-gas emissions. A number of governors put climate plans in place too. Turning all that talk into real action? That’s been put off until the next decade.