In his State of the Union address, President Bush threw away the last opportunity he had to save his historical legacy. He continued his business-as-usual do-nothing approach on global warming, which is the gravest threat facing the American way of life. As I wrote earlier in a column for the Center for American Progress web site:

President George W. Bush believes history will end up judging him favorably. He compares himself to Harry Truman who left office unpopular in large part because of a difficult war on the Korean peninsula but who is now admired by historians. President Bush suffers from an unpopular war, too, yet absent a dramatic reversal in President Bush’s climate policies–never mind Iraq–it’s a good bet that neither historians nor future generations of Americans will ever warm to President Bush.

Predicting the long-term consequences of the president’s misguided and mismanaged invasion of Iraq is impossible. But it is not at all difficult to detail the suffering that humanity faces because of global warming. If the United States “stays the course” with President Bush’s non-interventionist climate policies over the next decade, then by the third decade of this century all of American life–politics, international relations, our homes, our jobs, our industries, the kind of cars we drive–will be forever transformed.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.