((brightlines_include)) After a decade of brutal political trench warfare, the surreal debate in the U.S. on the reality of climate change is over. A Democratic Congress looking to put climate in play in 2008, serious buy-in for federal regulation from a band of corporate heavyweights, and a rash of climate conversions from the likes of Pat Robertson and Frank Luntz (author of the infamous strategy memo advising Bush administration operatives how to muddle the climate change debate) demonstrate that a significant and probably permanent shift in climate change political gravity has taken place within the last year. U.S. environmentalists have a very brief opportunity to reshape our climate agenda in order to meet the demands and seize the opportunities of new circumstances, and the stakes could not be higher. It is likely that the actions of U.S. environmentalists in the next two or three years â€“- more so than any other group of people on the planet -â€“ will determine whether a functional global response to abrupt climate change is advanced.
((brightlines_include)) Our climate agenda is inadequate and may even be detrimental to the sort of effort U.S. environmentalists must now undertake. I'd like to offer for comment an alternative "bright lines" framework for climate action, and propose a shift in role and agenda for U.S. environmentalists that takes account of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and squarely faces the almost incomprehensible challenge before us. Our goal, put starkly and simply, is to prevent the planned investment of $20 trillion over the next 25 years to increase fossil fuel supply, substituting in its place a crash global program -- capitalized at the same level -- to cut emissions, improve efficiencies, and develop renewables. The choice should not be viewed, in the frequently invoked Robert Frost imagine, as " two roads diverged." The world is committed whole hog to fossil fuels, and there is no other road -- yet. To create one will require restructuring the world's largest corporations, inventing appealing, low- or zero-carbon consumer products, and convincing the world's most powerful, nuclear-weapon-equipped nations to leave their reserves of oil, gas, and coal in the ground. We have less than a decade to do it. Tectonic social change on such a scale is rapid, haphazard, and non-linear. It cannot be achieved in the time left to us by incremental, measured steps. The image of change we should carry in our minds is not Cape Wind or Toyota Prius, but the Berlin Wall crashing down.
Today is Part V of Ken Ward's response to "The Death of Environmentalism," in which he concludes by laying out concrete steps the movement could take to mount an appropriate response to the danger of global warming. It's a bold strategy -- curious to hear what readers think of it. Don't forget to read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
Today comes Part IV of Ken Ward's response to "The Death of Environmentalism," in which he argues that some of The Reapers' ire -- nay, most of it -- should have been reserved for environmental funders. The narrow focus, political ineptitude, and technocratic fixes come not from the environmental advocacy groups, he says, but from the foundations that fund them. Good stuff today. (An edited version of this installment appears today in Soapbox.) Don't forget to read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part V.
In responding to “The Death of Environmentalism,” activist Ken Ward writes, “If the future toward which we rush is folly, the solution proposed by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus is foolishness.” In this excerpt from his full rebuttal to the essay, Ward describes the role environmental foundations play in frustrating effective campaigning, and suggests that if they intelligently directed their funding toward a coordinated climate-change campaign, they could catapult the issue to the top of the national agenda. “The necessary decisions could be made in a weekend conference with less than 100 people attending,” he writes. Foundations should be smarter …
Today comes Part III of Ken Ward's response to "The Death of Environmentalism," in which Ken argues that environmentalists should resist efforts to make environmental justice the core tenant of the movement and instead refocus on the most successful weapon in their arsenal: protest. Don't forget to read Part I, Part II, Part IV, and Part V.
Today we present Part II of Ken Ward's response to "The Death of Environmentalism," in which he argues that greens should reject the political position embedded in Lakoff's framing analysis -- namely, that environmentalism is just one more single-issue liberal group. Rather, the green movement should preserve its ability to speak across the left/right divide and focus on mobilizing and energizing its core supporters. Don't forget to read Part I, and Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
We're going to try a little experiment here. Recently we received a response to "The Death of Environmentalism" from longtime green activist Ken Ward. We're going to publish it here in the blog, in sections -- one section a day, throughout the week. In today's introduction, Ken agrees with The Reapers about the problems facing the green movement, but calls their proposed solution "foolishness." Your responses are welcome in comments. Don't forget to read Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.