In 20 years, historians will try to figure out how global warming moved from an issue that scientists and wonks were alone in caring about. Nancy Pelosi began her prepared statement talking about her creation of a climate change committee in the House. At the Netroots Nation panel on space policy, and a DNC platform discussion about space afterward, researching, averting and mitigating the effects of climate change were taken as necessary components of NASA’ s mission. Al Gore spoke a couple days ago about creating a carbon-free energy system in ten years, and it honestly isn’t unrealistic. Hard, sure, but not impossible.
There was a time when this was one issue among many, and now it’s seen (rightly) as a primary concern, linked to the necessity of revitalizing our economy through innovation, to national security through energy independence, to the protection of wild spaces and wildlife for our children, and to the preservation of our society in its current form. We cannot solve our economic problems without tangling with carbon emissions. We can’t stop a new generation of terrorists until we realign our relationship with the Middle East, which requires us to end our reliance on petroleum and other fossil fuels.
Nerds (including yours truly) have been saying that for decades, but at last it’s becoming accepted wisdom beyond the wonks, and beyond the liberal wing of the party. Even half of Republicans regard global warming as a big problem.
It isn’t An Inconvenient Truth, at least not alone. It was pointed out here that Time did a full issue on global warming before the movie came out, and the shift in attitudes is more wide-ranging than anything influenced by a single movie. The time has come.
Al Gore just called this “the mandate of history.” He’s right, and I think history will remember us fondly for recognizing it, however belatedly.