A couple nights ago I spoke briefly and rather aimlessly at the first Seattle EcoTuesday. I mentioned that the leading Democratic candidates all have detailed, creditable climate and energy plans, and the leading Republican candidates don’t. Afterward, a guy pulled me aside to scold me for "making it a political issue."

It’s something I hear a lot, and I remain utterly baffled by it. The assumption seems to be that politics is bad and that the ideal state would be unity. That’s just … creepy. This is an enormously significant policy challenge facing a democracy, where different citizens and groups have different assessments of the problem and different proposals for solving it, arising from different interests. In other words, it is political. Politics is the means by which people resolve their disputes. The only practical way of achieving unity is by suppressing dissent.

So yeah, it’s a political issue. The two parties have different takes on it. That’s a basic background fact, necessary to understanding the world we live in, not something we ought to be embarrassed or quiet about.