You can count the hours until the election is over, which means the debate has been reduced to its basic elements: Who’s a socialist? Who’s a plumber? Who’s ahead?
But against that backdrop, one large group of people — voters here in America and citizens of countries around the world — have been asking a more sophisticated, and more unlikely, question: “Will you come to Poland?”
The drive we at 350.org launched a few weeks ago with Grist’s help has passed the magic 35,000 mark — in fact, we vaulted past it on Thursday with a huge influx of new interest swelling the number of video and e-mail invitations.
The people joining the 350.org campaign aren’t demanding that the next president solve global warming. But they are asking that he show that Ameerica will once again be a player in the game — and the best way to show that is to show up … in Poznan Poland, in December, for global talks that will set the stage for next year’s climactic Copenhagen conference.
Both the Obama and McCain camps have been making some noises about maybe attending — they’re on the fence, and more invites would help. Like the ones from a couple of hundred Floridians who gathered Tuesday night at Barry University in Miami Shores, which is scenically located ten feet above sea level. (Which is to say, if the next president screws up, the college’s premier scuba-diving instruction program will move out of the Leisure Studies department and into the very center of campus life.)
Everyone knows that the economy is the focus of the election. It is, after all, melting down. But the world is too, and that even larger trauma will be the toughest issue the new president, regardless of party, will face.
Best then if he faces it early, and squarely. Best if he understands the new scientific reality that anything over 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is too much. Since we’re already at 387 … well, that’s why we need him in Poland this December.