Year 2, Month 6, Day 11: Bill and Mike’s Excellent Vacation

Clinton and Bloomberg are going to tackle climate change together. What fun!

WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton and Michael R. Bloomberg have circled each other warily for a decade, ever since Mr. Clinton landed in Harlem after leaving the White House and Mr. Bloomberg ascended from a hugely successful business career to become the mayor of New York City. They have appeared together at a few civic functions, dined out a couple of times a year and hacked at golf balls on the same course.

But until now they have never joined forces on a project with global reach that could advance both of their legacies. They are taking on an issue — climate change — that may well shape the world’s economic and social future for decades to come.

Good for them, I suppose. Sent May 29:

Bill Clinton understates things: climate change isn’t merely one of the world’s two or three biggest challenges, but the most significant problem we’ve faced in the history of our civilization. By far. All the agenda items commonly represented at meetings of the world’s movers and shakers: the endless wars, incessant bickerings over trade, and our violations of what have only recently been recognized as “human rights” — all deal with essentially short-term concerns, and all can at least potentially be solved with enough careful discussion and the gradual development of mutual understanding between tribes, cultures and nations. The greenhouse effect and the laws of physics, by contrast, will be indifferent to Mr. Clinton’s eloquence and to Mr. Bloomberg’s business acumen. All their fine words will amount to nothing unless we — all of us — can stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the atmosphere.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 4, Day 23: I Miss Abbie Hoffman.

The New York Observer notes that Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg are teaming up to “save the planet.” Bold environmental strategy, or timid capitulation to corporate predators? You decide.

As is often the case, it took me almost as long to find the LTE link as it did to write the letter in the first place. With the exception of the closing sentence this is a standard “false equivalency” screed.

Sent April 13:

Bill Clinton’s analysis of the media coverage of climate change is entirely correct. For decades, America’s news outlets have been the focus of non-stop intimidation from right-wing ideologues claiming “liberal bias” on any story reporting facts they find inconvenient or undesirable. Couple this with a relentless focus on celebrity gossip and a steady shortening of attention span, and you have the recipe for disaster: while the burgeoning climate crisis will affect every soul on this planet in unpredictable and drastic ways, our television, radio and print outlets persistently downplay the severity of the emergency. When scientific debate is a televised competition between talking heads, it’s the loudest sound bite that “wins.” Just when we most need wisdom and insight, our media serves us false equivalency and shouting matches. While the world gets hotter and hotter, they’re yelling “theater!” in a crowded fire.

Warren Senders