Monday, November 19, 2007

"Beyond Bush"

The 15 November 2007 edition of the journal Nature raises a question almost too tantalizing to bear: what happens with climate and energy policy once GWB's administration is outta here?

I wonder which way this will play out. While Bush might have revived his image and salvaged his historical reputation by crafting aggressive policies to deal with climate and energy in his second term, and while he did appear to be moving in this direction if the last two State of the Union addresses, and made moves towards investment in hydrogen tech and biofuels, he still seems to be largely tied to the status quo mast. That means that US inaction to date is all his fault. So what happens when he's gone? What if we learn that a President Giuliani or Clinton or Obama can accomplish little more than their tongue tied, oil industry predecessor?

A charismatic leader can sometimes unite a nation into swift and unified action (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), and we may get such a leader. But the scope of the challenges is so enormous ... this is such a very large ship to turn ... that it may take more than one or two 4-year terms before progressive thinking get implemented as tangible action. How much time, from a climate change perspective, from an energy security perspective, from an economic perspective, do you think we really have? Do you know which candidate would do the most? Do you know which candidate could to the most? The clock is ticking ... and it's twelve months till November ...