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June 18, 2011

Sigh. Compromise is likely only way to go green

by Geoff Grant

Stephen Stromberg of the Washington Post had a good column this week on “How to get Republicans to go green”. What does Stromberg suggest? In a word, compromise. There’s no doubt Stromberg is right, that compromise will be the only way to make inroads in Washington to attacking what is looming as our generation’s defining issue. But that premise is also utterly frustrating.

If we don’t address global carbon emissions, climate chaos will be a matter of when, not if. It’s already in our best interests to address all of today’s tangible offshoots of global warming and climate change, like food security, energy security, and the jobs, jobs, jobs that are waiting to be tapped in clean technology.

But Washington is so completely divided by the issue of global warming — not to mention in bed with the fossil fuel industries, as well as hamstrung by its culture of political horse-trading — that a rational and non-partisan plan to address it won’t be coming out of Congress any time soon. Not without the aforementioned compromise, a compromise that may involve Democrats agreeing to cut some of the entitlement programs and the Republicans agreeing to raise some taxes.

Of course, it shouldn’t come to that. Climate change affects everyone, not just Democrats or Republicans or Americans or the Chinese. It’s not an issue to be bartered. It’s a serious, complex problem to be addressed in a serious, complex way.

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