The Young Girl and the Fatuous President

Trump and the Teenager: A Climate Showdown at Davos

 Climate experts agree: “Steve Mnuchin should go back to college”—not Greta Thunberg

 Trump Roars, and Davos Shrugs

Mr. Trump’s Davos insults referred to above were typically illiterate and haughty. We must reject, he said,

the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the errors [heirs?] of yesterday’s fortune tellers, and we have them and I have them. And they want to see us do badly, but we don’t let that happen. . . . This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process, because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action.

After this word salad, the Treasury Secretary had to get into the act. Mr. Mnuchin said, “Is she the chief economist? Or who is she? I’m confused.” After claiming his remarks were “a joke” that was allegedly “funny,” Mnuchin added: “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

What a sense of humor this guy has. And the crowd at Davos was not amused. Trump & Co.’s blabby promotion of the U.S. was generally seen as something no longer interesting or relevant.

“He is a moron,” a European energy executive said of Trump. “Do we have time for it? No. We have to change our whole company to get carbon-neutral.”

“Greta is great,” said an executive for a Japanese manufacturer. “Even if she can’t deliver, she is needed to balance Trump in conversation and that seems to be happening.”

Turning Off Fossil Fuel Funding

Why the Climate Movement’s Next Big Target Is Wall Street

Want to Do Something About Climate Change? Follow the Money

BlackRock C.E.O. Larry Fink: Climate Crisis Will Reshape Finance

The financing spigot has provided way over half a trillion dollars during the last three years to America’s fossil fuel producers. That’s from just four Wall Street banks—JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. This money invariably goes for the worst kinds of anti-climate projects, like oil pipelines.

Only a very few of the largest companies, like Exxon Mobil, can self-finance their projects. The others are wired to the biggest banks and investment firms, and the climate movement is beginning to take note of the problem.

Though many banking institutions have branded themselves as green, the world’s top 33 largest banks collectively provided $1.9 trillion in financing for coal, oil, and gas companies since countries put forth the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Bill McKibben has organized StopTheMoneyPipeline.Com to “demand that banks, asset managers and insurance companies stop funding, insuring and investing in climate destruction.” Just getting started, the group has targeted Chase, BlackRock Asset Managers (with its nearly $7 trillion in investments) and Liberty Mutual Insurance—all of whom could stop fossil financing tomorrow without any real damage to their business.

McKibben writes that “These titans may be too big to pressure. Yet if we could get just one offending bank to move toward divesting from fossil fuels, the ripple effects would be both swift and global.” And even now, BlackRock’s website leads off with the statement that “Sustainability, and climate change in particular, are transforming investments.” They post a letter from CEO Larry Fink about “how climate risk is an investment risk” and how sustainable strategies are the future. Maybe Fink and McKibben can now have lunch.

Several writers predict a sort of domino effect if even one of these “banks” (what an outmoded term for these guys!) gets serious about this kind of funding strategy. Fink wrote that he believes “we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.” He would “introduce new funds that shun fossil fuel-oriented stocks, move more aggressively to vote against management teams that are not making progress on sustainability.”

We would note that sustainability is always a tricky and ambiguous word, but let’s give Larry credit for evidently trying finally to monitor the fossil funding spigot.  According to one of Bloomberg’s opinion writers, his letter marks the end of the road for coal.

The Fire Next Time

Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide

Don’t Let Australia’s Crisis Go to Waste

Public anger builds against Morrison

I borrow the title of James Baldwin’s 1963 best-seller that articulated his personal agonies in the civil rights movement. In our time what could galvanize people to stop the burning? I wish I had the skill and talent of Baldwin. A major part of Australia has already gone up in flames. The Amazon rainforest has just about reached a fiery tipping point. Will Africa be next?

Scott Morrison, Australia’s coal-fired prime minister, is leading his country to suicide, opines Richard Flanagan, a novelist whose recent piece caught the terror and the drama of what’s happening there.

The images of the fires are a cross between “Mad Max” and “On the Beach”: thousands driven onto beaches in a dull orange haze, crowded tableaux of people and animals almost medieval in their strange muteness—half-Bruegel, half-Bosch, ringed by fire, survivors’ faces hidden behind masks and swimming goggles. Day turns to night as smoke extinguishes all light in the horrifying minutes before the red glow announces the imminence of the inferno. Flames leaping 200 feet into the air. Fire tornadoes. Terrified children at the helm of dinghies, piloting away from the flames, refugees in their own country.

Bloomberg’s Daniel Moss puts the crisis in terms of statistics and money. But the problem is much more personal than that. And it’s the blindness of leadership that permitted the crisis come to its present head.

An area larger than Ireland has been destroyed, at least 25 people are dead, 2,000 homes have been razed, and 25 million acres of forest and bush have been wiped out. As many as a billion animals may have been incinerated since September, some species almost to extinction. Tourism, farming and consumer confidence have taken a hit. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been lambasted for too little action, too late. His government announced a $1.4 billion recovery fund over the weekend; with more than 100 fires still tearing through the country’s most populous state, more is bound to be needed.

Morrison’s government still maintains there is “no direct link between climate change and the country’s devastating bushfires, despite public anger, the anguish of victims and warnings from scientists.” This is more than ignorance; it’s murder. Morrison is captive to the coal industry and takes his stance from other climate criminals like Trump and Bolsonaro.

Finally, the activists are on the march in nine Australian cities. Led by student organizations, “tens of thousands” are expected to march this weekend. Melbourne will host the biggest protest. Yet it will take more than activism to displace Morrison & Company. It will take political power.

In 1963 Baldwin asked, “Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?” Now, it seems, some Australians have no choice except to flee to the sea shore, as in a bad apocalyptic movie. The leadership of climate deniers may not yet go up in smoke but we can hope for their eviction, and soon.

Greta in Winter

https://mailchi.mp/0f7569e82bdf/greta-in-winter?e=5b4a442b0a

My cousin’s husband writes a good, chatty blog about life in Vermont and other things. He just sent this one on, which is a revelation about the trials of running an electric car in the harsh Vermont winters. At the same time Bill Schubart sees the value in electrics, in fact their necessity.

This fall for only the second time in my life, I bought a new car. It’s an emission-free Nissan Leaf. I named it “Greta.” Last night, I ran into a friend who has a Tesla all-electric vehicle (AEV) also named “Greta.” I’m now wondering how many AEVs there are in the world bearing the Swedish teenager’s name.

I’m comfortable saying it was the extraordinary courage of this young woman who could be my granddaughter that drove my decision to go all-electric. “Okay boomer,” I said to myself, “It’s your turn to help leave a habitable world for the next generation.

When Green Mountain Power held a get-acquainted session on AEVs for its customers, my wife and I drove up. They had most current models available there for customers to test drive and dealers to answer questions. I chose the Leaf and, thrilled that I fit in it, took it for a spin. It was a distinctly different experience… silence, no auto-shifting clunks. I learned that by using the eco-pedal, I didn’t need the brake pedal and could extend Greta’s range. I was hooked!

I’m 1200 miles into Greta and my early experience with her sent me searching for the encyclopedic instruction manual in the glove compartment. Like most consumers, I had read the FAQ’s and thought I knew it all. At the time of purchase, my key question was driving range between charges, a deciding factor for most potential buyers. The range is nominally 150 miles. My benchmark was the 88-mile roundtrip between my home in Hinesburg and Montpelier.

I set out on my first excursion with a full 152 miles on the meter. When I got to Montpelier, I expected to find it down 44 miles, but it was, in fact, down twice that – about 66 miles left to go before I needed a charge. This didn’t register, so before heading home, I pulled out the manual and read what I’d neglected to read before committing to Greta.

Like all living things, her capacity is temperature-dependent. It was 10 above zero when I left the house and I had turned on the heat to make it worse as both heat and lights reduce Greta’s range. I risked the straight shot home and made it with 12 miles to go by turning off the heat and arrived home in a near cadaverous chill, scraping my frozen breath from the inside of the windshield with a credit card. Did this mean driving at night with no lights and no heat? Should I buy a flashlight and a wool blanket for Greta?

I also learned Greta’s batteries can be severely damaged by exposure to temperatures below minus 13. I’ve lived in Vermont for 70 years and have yet to experience a winter where it didn’t get colder than that. I remember a sunny, dry winter day in Lincoln at 38 below. Could Greta even survive here, much less provide frigid transportation beyond a few miles from home? I began to worry.

But I’ve learned that by monitoring the temperature and my energy usage as I drive, using the eco-pedal to recharge as I drive, charging every night at home during off-peak hours, I can manage quite well and I haven’t eaten in a gas station in two months. I’m finding more and more charging stations, all searchable on my cellphone. Besides if it’s freezing cold and I have a round trip to Montpelier, a stop at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex for a quick charge, a latte, and a croissant isn’t much of a price to pay for doing my part. Sometimes, slowing life down enhances  it.

But more important than my comfort are the larger environmental implications of continuing to burn fossil fuel. According to a recent VTDigger article, transportation accounts for 43% of the state’s carbon emissions and in spite of earnest expressions of concerns and many unfulfilled commitments, emissions have increased in recent years and are 16% higher than they were in 1990.

. . . As I get even older than I am now, I know that much of the remaining work I have left to do on earth is to try and leave a better, more just place for my children and grandchildren.

It’s disheartening to hear special interests and climate deniers froth on about their temporal material interests. I wonder what they think when they gather over the holidays with their children and grandchildren. As they play together, do they never imagine their progeny trying to make it in a world of uncontrollable fires, floods and rising sea levels, massive climate migrations, and dying food systems, all so they can drive a fossil fuel car or get their convenience foods in unrecyclable plastic? Our children comprise a quarter of our country. They will inherit our mess.

In Matthew 5:5 from the Sermon on the Mount, one of the Beatitudes tells us the meek shall inherit the earth. Our children are finding their voice and are no longer meek. We owe it to them to listen.

Sometimes when I’m driving Greta late at night. I stare at the energy meters on the dashboard anxious about whether I’ll make it home, I hear Greta whisper to me, “Okay boomer, you did good.”

To a brave New Year !

The Politics May Kill Us

Interstate 66, west of Washington, DC

The Challenging Politics of Climate Change

 How the Climate Crisis Is Killing Us, in 9 Alarming Charts

 Americans Increasingly See Climate Change as a Crisis, Poll Shows

 Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution leads off her piece on climate and politics with a great quote from Colin Jost of Saturday Night Live (10/13/18):

We don’t really worry about climate change because it’s too overwhelming and we’re already in too deep. It’s like if you owe your bookie $1,000, you’re like, ‘OK, I’ve got to pay this dude back.’ But if you owe your bookie $1 million dollars, you’re like, ‘I guess I’m just going to die.’

So there are many reasons Americans (in particular) resist climate change, and Kamarck goes on to document these in a lengthy but very worthwhile essay you should read. In the most recent decade of Gallup’s polling, for instance, we learn that “almost half of the public believes that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated.” A series of natural disasters and dramatic weather events leaves the public mostly unmoved. Jobs, the economy and healthcare top their list of concerns.

Then there’s partisanship. And the complex nature of the climate crisis. Plus jurisdiction and accountability: who’s responsible? by whose laws? And the lack of trust in government—at a new low since the administration of G.W. Bush. Finally, our elites demonstrate a lack of imagination, such as described by Amitav Ghosh in The Great Derangement (reviewed here): we don’t talk about climate in fiction or television or film. Is it too threatening?

Matt Simon in Wired tells us how climate is slowly killing us, referencing a massive study in The Lancet, a medical journal, on climate change and human health. Says one of the authors about living in a world 4 degrees warmer than in preindustrial times:

We have no idea what that looks like from a public health perspective, but we know it is catastrophic. . . . We know that it has the potential to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health and overwhelm the health systems we rely on.

Simon’s series of graphics should properly scare you. Here’s one:

Scorched by Heat Waves

On he goes, with measures of wildfires roaring, diseases blooming, air conditioning heating up cities, crops declining, etc.

In the face of all this a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll tells us that “A growing number of Americans describe climate change as a crisis, and two-thirds say President Trump is doing too little to tackle the problem.”

About 8 in 10 “say that human activity is fueling climate change, and roughly half believe action is urgently needed within the next decade if humanity is to avert its worst effects. Nearly 4 in 10 now say climate change is a “crisis,” up from less than a quarter five years ago.”

That story was posted September 13 of this year, Kamarck’s on September 23. So who’s right? With a well-earned mistrust of polls, I vote for Kamarck because she uses a wider time spread.

We have a lot of work to do.

Impeachment: More Time, More Evidence

The Impeachment Question

Climate Change in the American Mind: April 2019

Trump’s failure to fight climate change is a crime against humanity

Maybe if the Democrats can pull off their wonderful stunt of withholding the Impeachment Articles until McConnell gives them a “fair deal” in the Senate trial, that will give them time to explore some of the more outrageous things the Articles didn’t cover. That’s a long way of saying they need more evidence. I doubt that people will be convinced solely by what was presented to the House. If the Dems can hold out for more time and more investigations, the stain of impeachment will only spread.

Trump’s waffling and bluster about climate change could be one of those areas to explore. Some 69 percent of Americans believe that the climate crisis is very real and/or very threatening. One other ripe area is the Mueller report, which has been all but forgotten in the proceedings. It doesn’t pertain strictly to climate change but reveals an abundance of illegalities and obstructions. Linda Greenhouse of The Times:

The 182-page volume 2, which analyzes thirty-eight separate incidents as potential obstructions of justice . . .  reads like a cross between Wolf Hall and Richard III, depicting the White House under the shadow of the Russia investigation in a constant state of crisis, as the president’s top aides struggle to both serve their master and save their own skins—not only from his wrath but from the potential legal consequences of carrying out his orders.

My thinking is that people need more time to absorb the depth and extent of Trump’s behavior, which is an essential part of his failure to address climate change.

In August Jeffrey Sachs called this failure “a crime against humanity” and indicted Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Ted Cruz along with Trump. He cites their total failure to respond to the hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico, North Carolina and Florida, in which literally thousands have died. “The first job of government is to protect the public,” and that requires education, legislation, full-scale preparedness and disaster response. Trump and his crew have deliberately ignored all this and made matters worse by eviscerating the EPA and slamming environmental science.

Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic in a reductive piece finds that Trump’s belief in carbonism explains all his actions over climate, including backing out of the Paris Agreement.

Carbonism is a belief that fossil fuels—which send carbon pollution spewing into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change and ocean acidification—have inherent virtue. That they are better, in fact, than other energy sources.

Well, Robinson, who couldn’t have figured that one out? Most of the world lives off carbon in its varied forms. “China burns over half of the world’s coal and will account for 50% of global CO2 emissions by 2030”: thus from Kenneth Richard, a smart climate writer who goes beyond carbonism. Remember that in July Trump delivered a major speech on environment without a mention of climate change.

The point of my declamation here is to urge the Democrats to explore the fiascoes of Trump & Co. on climate and see whether they can establish any more “crimes against humanity.” It will be but one of many he has committed.

Meditations on a Runaway Crisis

I make it a practice here of giving you three linked articles at the outset that reflect, to some degree, my opinions. It’s part of the tradition of argument to bolster one’s opinions with evidence. So maybe it’s time for my opinions unfiltered.

Climate has become an imponderable, a cloud that never dispenses rain, a storm that never breaks. By that I mean the more we understand the depths of climate change, the more stymied we are in doing something about it. Most of us who aren’t deniers recognize the enormity of the problem but despair of moving the political forces that are needed to attack it. We are immobilized.

As the heat, storms, floods and droughts become increasingly common, more and more people report instances of “climate grief,” high anxiety and depression about what they see ahead. It seems like “a massive government conspiracy to kill us all,” with people increasingly reporting feelings of despair and panic.

I’m not there yet, still too much of a rationalist to give in to despair, still looking to implement answers that are staring us in the face. I ask, what causes this immobility in the face of disaster? Are we like the fools who went to New Zealand’s White Island to watch the volcano explode and got killed in the process?

Climate is like impeachment—the perfect disaster for the Trump era. We all stand by watching a process unfold that we can’t affect while Republicans blow smoke and defend the indefensible. As the climate outlook gets grimmer, with shocking UN reports and more detailed studies, we learn that the oceans are far worse off than we thought, that permafrost thawing in the Arctic will blow holes in our predictions of CO2 in the atmosphere, that the time to apply any fix gets shorter and shorter.

Some offer up palliatives like the Green New Deal when they should be pursuing more achievable first steps like a carbon tax. Some seem to wallow in their grief when they should be out marching in protest. Others look to a false savior like Trump or Boris. All seem to fear for the future.

I have no simple answers but one: get out of yourself and do something that will have political impact. You don’t need therapy, you need action. Politics is the key to all reform efforts and it must be the first response to climate change. Immediately, let’s vote out the Republicans, who are simply “unreachable” on climate. It’s a time for taking sides. The second step is to unify the unwieldy Democrats behind an achievable, staged program of amelioration. The right is always motivated by fear; let the left be motivated by solidarity and action.

David Roberts of Vox put it well here:

To motivate people to action, you have to give them meaningful changes to fight for, people to fight alongside, and, just as importantly, enemies to fight against. You can’t stay on the sidelines, welcoming everyone to the table. You have to pick a side.

Finally, grieving over climate is like grieving over Trump: it gets you nowhere. Pick a side and get to work. Accept the fact that, whether you like it or not, climate will be a political battle.

Trump on Climate Change

It’s possible that Trump doesn’t actually know what climate change is

Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript

Trump says climate change not a hoax, not sure of its source

If we had better criteria for impeachment, the president’s remarks on climate would form Article One. Yet, after pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, he’s babbled and hedged so many times on this that, as Philip Bump wrote, maybe he doesn’t know what climate change is. More probably, he knows but must defend the energy interests that support him. And so he waffles to smoke out his critics.

As in his response to Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:

“I think about it all the time, Phil. And, honestly, climate change is very important to me,” Trump replied. “And, you know, I’ve done many environmental impact statements over my life, and I believe very strongly in very, very crystal clear, clean water and clean air. That’s a big part of climate change.”

In 2016, his climate comments were a way to disparage Obama:

“So he talks about the carbon footprint, okay, and how important the carbon footprint is, I’m not supposed to use hair spray in my hair because it affects the ozone,” Trump said. “Now it fits in an apartment that is totally sealed, but it goes up and it affects the ozone. I don’t think so, personally. But you know, there’s a lot of money being laid on this in that sense.”

Later in 2019, it was the carbon footprint again in a sarcastic tweet:

I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called “Carbon Footprint” to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!

Then came this canard about wind turbines, which he had campaigned against because they would destroy views from his golf course:

“They’re all made in China and Germany, by the way, just in case you—we don’t make them here, essentially. We don’t make them here.” [This is not true.]

In October of this year, he backtracked on his earlier claim that climate change was a hoax. “I’m not denying climate change,” he said in the [60 Minutes] interview. “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over a … millions of years.” Earlier in 2012,

he sent a tweet stating, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He later said he was joking about the Chinese connection, but in years since has continued to call global warming a hoax.

Shortly after the election Trump sat for an extended interview with New York Times staff. There was a lengthy, very smoky discussion about climate change. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. asked Trump in a puffball question whether he had an open mind about it. The response was classic Trump. Is it obfuscation or a reflection of his disordered state of mind?

My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was . . . a long time ago, he had feelings—this was a long time ago—he had feelings on this subject. It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know. I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about. I absolutely have an open mind. I will tell you this: Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.

And you know, you mentioned a lot of the courses. I have some great, great, very successful golf courses. I’ve received so many environmental awards for the way I’ve done, you know. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work where I’ve received tremendous numbers. Sometimes I’ll say I’m actually an environmentalist and people will smile in some cases and other people that know me understand that’s true. Open mind.

Climate Dominoes Begin to Fall

In bleak report, U.N. says drastic action is only way to avoid worst effects of climate change

Nine climate tipping points now ‘active,’ warn scientists

The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific

Nobody needs to tell you that you’re going to die. But what if they could tell you not precisely when you’re going to die but the likely causes and conditions of your death? What would you do about it? You would take precautions or you would slough it off, too preoccupied with worldly things. Or you’d worry and do nothing. You’d keep on smoking cigarettes. My parents were like that.

And if you knew the climate was going to run out of control in a relatively fixed number of years? If you understood that life on earth would be forever altered for the worse; that millions would die or live lives of misery? Denying that prospective reality would be the ultimate dismissal of your rationality, even your humanity.

We learn now from last week’s U.N. report—“a grim assessment of how off-track the world remains”—that the present pace of confronting the climate crisis will inevitably lead to disaster. If you read this blog, you knew that already.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science tells us that nine tipping points are now active and menacing. They immediately threaten

the loss of the Amazon rainforest and the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, which are currently undergoing measurable and unprecedented changes much earlier than expected.

This “cascade” of changes sparked by global warming could threaten the existence of human civilisations.

Evidence is mounting that these events are more likely and more interconnected than was previously thought, leading to a possible domino effect.

Meaning that they are so interlinked as to cause and amplify one another. Such events are, it seems, irreversible. Without our intervention, the dominoes will begin to fall. A revealing description of how interrelated our ocean ecology is was published by the Washington Post here. The salmon catch off the coast of Japan is being depleted by warming waters, and the consequences are like so many dominoes falling. These effects are being felt in many places around the globe.

Remember the fatuous domino theory (predicting the takeover of communism) for our appalling encroachments in Vietnam? This time it’s no political theory but provable scientific facts that are impossible to ignore.

Democrats: Get Your Priorities Straight

The Most Pressing Issue for Our Next President Isn’t Medicare

Voters want more climate-change debate, but the Democratic event gave less than 10 minutes to the issue

The climate science is clear: it’s now or never to avert catastrophe

I couldn’t watch the last Democratic debate. I was busy talking politics with two friends, which was more enlightening than what the Dems offered. The debate format is just not for serious debate. It’s mostly for probing your opposing candidates’ weaknesses, establishing your own bona fides, and coming up with a quotable crumb for the press.

The Democrats seem pulled between two opposing forces—what the polls show to be the dominant issues for voters and what are in fact the most pressing issues. That is to say, they haven’t yet found the right political formula to move the voters left. Climate change, the world’s most urgent and least fixable problem, got less than 10 minutes’ consideration in the debate. And so the pattern of denial continues.

 . . . Climate experts also worry that a lack of specific policy with price tags and the limitations of a debate format relegate the topic to low priority, even as Wall Street and Corporate America step up their own attention on the issue.

Wednesday’s question lineup was also reflective of current headlines. The Trump impeachment hearings, taxes and foreign policy dominated the debate.

And the outrageous amount of time devoted to health care in earlier debates is just pandering to what the Dems perceive to be voters’ concerns. As some of you know, I worked on the Clinton heath care reform in ’93-’94 and understand how deep the problem is. It’s the most immediate and pressing issue for most voters.

But other big challenges loom, not just with climate but with the parlous state of American democracy, as David Leonhardt mentioned. Consider: voting rights, the collapse of the GOP, the rank inequality in our country, energy, the middle class erosion. Yet, in a sense they are all tied in to climate change.

People like Bill McKibben have been ringing the alarm bells for a long time. Maybe the noise (along with increasingly strong and numerous protests) has finally penetrated a few brains.

McKibben says the climate crisis doesn’t work anything like the health care crisis. The math is against us and the scenario for reducing emissions to nothing in twenty years is an “ungodly steep slope.”

Here’s another way of saying it: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last autumn that if we hadn’t managed a fundamental transformation of the planet’s energy systems by 2030, our chance of meeting the Paris temperature targets is slim to none. And anyone who has ever had anything to do with governments knows: if you want something big done by 2030, you better give yourself a lot of lead time. In fact, it’s possible we’ve waited too long: the world’s greenhouse gas emissions spiked last year, and—given Trump, Bolsonaro and Putin—it’s hard to imagine we won’t see the same depressing thing this year.

2030: that’s only ten years, Democrats. Are Sanders and Warren the only ones talking candidly about climate? If Booker, Klobuchar and Harris want to revive their faltering campaigns, getting serious about climate might be a way to start.