My, what a difference two years makes. Believe it or not, that's how long ago presidential candidates on both sides of the fence campaigned on promises of addressing climate change.
In office a year later, President Obama said he was "committed to making sure that we get an energy policy that makes sense for the country and that helps us grow at the same time as it deals with climate change in a serious way."
Today, despite consistently mounting evidence, global warming has faded into the forgotten abyss of American politics. "Climate change" has become a four-letter word.
In the NYT, environment reporter Elizabeth Rosenthal offers a brief but thorough analysis of the issue, making note of the fact that the U.S. is essentially the last nation standing when it comes to climate change.
This fading of global warming from the political agenda is a mostly American phenomenon. True, public enthusiasm for legislation to tackle climate change has flagged somewhat throughout the developed world since the recession of 2008. Nonetheless, in many other countries, legislation to control emissions has rolled out apace. Just last Wednesday, Australia’s House of Representatives passed a carbon tax, which is expected to easily clear the country’s Senate. Europe’s six-year-old carbon emissions trading system continues its yearly expansion. In 2010, India passed a carbon tax on coal. Even China’s newest five-year plan contains a limited pilot cap-and-trade system, under which polluters pay for excess pollution.
Wake up, America. The time is now.
Photo: A rally last week in front of Parliament House in Canberra to support an Australian carbon tax. (Alan Porritt / Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images)