Year 2, Month 12, Day 17: Sparkly!

Eugene Robinson tries to make it shiny in the Washington Post:

I’m inclined to believe that the apparent result of the climate change summit in Durban, South Africa, might turn out to be a very big deal. Someday. Maybe.

After the meeting ended Sunday, initial reaction ranged from “Historic Breakthrough: The Planet Is Saved” to “Tragic Failure: The Planet Is Doomed.”

My conclusion is that for now, at least, the conceptual advance made in Durban is as good as it gets.

This advance is, potentially, huge: For the first time, officials of the nations that are the biggest carbon emitters — China, the United States and India — have agreed to negotiate legally binding restrictions.

The thing is, when there’s stuff like this showing up in the news, there’s no wiggle room left for the world’s nations to eventually maybe someday get around to kinda sorta consider possibly doing something.

Sent December 13:

Our nation’s ongoing disconnect between political and factual reality is perfectly exemplified in Eugene Robinson’s attempts at an optimistic assessment of the Durban agreement. Yes, it’s nice that many nations have signed a new treaty, but the bad news has, so to speak, circled the globe before the good news has even gotten out of bed.

In the empirically verifiable world of scientifically confirmed facts, the window for avoiding catastrophic climate change is closing far more rapidly than any experts were predicting. In the non-linear world of American governance, though, kicking the can down the road is a perfectly adequate substitute for action — because politics, the “art of the possible,” makes action impossible. Remember the recent story of rural firemen watching a house burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn’t previously paid a $75 fee? Will commitment-averse politicians ensure that we all likewise become spectators at our own immolation?

Warren Senders

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