The Climate Change Revolution
The world is in the midst of a great political transformation, in which climate change has moved to the center of national and global politics. For politicians in persistent denial about the need act, including US President George W. Bush, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there is no longer any place to hide. The science is clear, manmade changes in climate are being felt, and the electorate’s demand for action is growing. Though unlikely just a few months ago, a strong global agreement by 2010, one that will set a path for action for decades to come, now stands a good chance of being implemented.
Political leaders in countries that produce coal, oil, and gas – like the US, Australia, and Canada – have pretended that climate change is a mere hypothesis. For several years, the Bush administration tried to hide the facts from the public, deleting references to manmade climate from government documents and even trying to suppress statements by leading government scientists. Until recently, Exxon Mobil and other companies paid lobbyists to try to distort the public debate.
Yet truth has triumphed over political maneuvers. The climate itself is sending a powerful and often devastating message. Hurricane Katrina made the US public aware that global warming would likely raise the intensity of destructive storms. Australia’s great drought this past year has similarly made a mockery of Howard’s dismissive attitude toward climate change.