… [T]he Democratic Party does not have a plan to address climate change. This is true at almost every level of the policy-making process: It does not have a consensus bill on the issue waiting in the wings; it does not have a shared vision for what that bill could look like; and it does not have a guiding slogan—like “Medicare for all”—to express how it wants to stop global warming.
Many people in the party know that they want to do something about climate change, but there’s no agreement about what that something may be.
This is not for lack of trying. Democrats have struggled to formulate a post-Obama climate policy because substantive political obstacles stand in their way. They have not yet identified a mechanism that will make a dent in Earth’s costly, irreversible warming while uniting the many factions of their coalition. These problems could keep the party scrambling to face the climate crisis for years to come.
This remains true. The only Democrats in the national view who keep mitigation of climate change in focus are Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. In fact, Senator Sanders and Senator Whitehouse are the only ones with plans, this being Senator Sanders’, and this being Senator Whitehouse, quite contrary to the impression The Atlantic article gives. Also, the claim that “Unlike Clinton’s policies, Sanders would surely have required a Democratic Congress to enshrine his policies”, is completely disingenuous. Only the most limited policies can be enacted without Congress, but that never should be a reason for failing to champion them or make excuses for why they can’t be done, like President Obama’s insistence that we cannot sacrifice economic growth in the pursuit of climate mitigation.
So, I would suggest that what The Atlantic and I mean here is that the standard, vanilla-flavored Democratic Party has no idea about what to do, and it doesn’t really care. What it cares about is winning, and it will compromise on policy in order to make that happen.
This is predominantly why Claire and I are so supportive of Bob Massie as Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts. See his position on climate change.
It’s more tiring to say it again than it is to listen to it, but we are running out of time and the economic costs to do something real in time to stop awesome, amazing, and recurring harm from climate change increase by the month.
- Aengenheyster, M., Feng, Q. Y., van der Ploeg, F., and Dijkstra, H. A.: “The point of no return for climate action: effects of climate uncertainty and risk tolerance”, Earth System Dynamics, 9, 1085-1095, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-1085-2018, 2018.
We determine the point of no return (PNR) for climate change, which is the latest year to take action to reduce greenhouse gases to stay, with a certain probability, within thresholds set by the Paris Agreement. For a 67% probability and a 2K (Kelvin) threshold, the PNR is the year 2035 when the share of renewable energy rises by 2% per year. We show the impact on the PNR of the speed by which emissions are cut, the risk tolerance, climate uncertainties and the potential for negative emissions.
In short, both political parties — and especially the Democrats, since they claim to know better — are failing the United States Constitution and the people of the United States:
Preamble. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Amendment XIV (Ratified July 9, 1868)
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Indeed, given this situation, as I’ve mentioned before, I really wonder if the Constitution of the United States is up to this challenge, because it lacks the mechanism to achieve this. Of course, given that Congresses and Presidents disregard the Constitution, notably
… This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
with respect to, say, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, which remains one of the `treaties in force’ considered so by the U.S. State Department (page 515).