In his Life of Samuel Johnson (1791), James Boswell famously quotes Dr. Johnson as remarking that second marriages are the “triumph of hope over experience.” Today the same might be said of a second Obama administration working with a divided Congress to achieve meaningful bipartisan solutions to climate change.
Experience suggests that modest ambitions from the administration and strong opposition from many Republicans and some Democrats in Congress will continue to stymie serious national climate action. Hope is informed by science and by growing U.S. public awareness that climate change poses significant risks to our nation’s well-being. At this fresh start of a second administration and new Congress, it compels us to demand more from leaders of both political parties.
To help ensure that hope — and science — triumph, M.I.T. climate scientist Kerry Emanuel and I have narrated a short video calling on leaders of both parties to “speak to the realities and risks of human-caused climate change, and commit themselves to findings bipartisan solutions.”
Kerry and I speak from very different political perspectives. I’ve long voted as a Democrat, Kerry as a Republican who has recently changed his registration to independent — a response, in part, to what he describes in his excellent primer What We Know About Climate Change as the “increasingly strident skepticism about climate science” within the Republican party. We hold differing views on several important issues, including the viability of nuclear power and renewable energy as alternatives to fossil fuels. But we share deep conviction that the time to debate the established science of human-caused climate change is long over and that the needed national bipartisan conversation about what to do about it is long overdue.
Please share the video with family and friends – and with at least one person who has a different political view from your own. And call on your members of Congress to reach across the aisle and work towards serious bipartisan solutions to climate change. Let us know what you think – and thanks.
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