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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yuletide Gifts from Washington D.C.: Reflections on a Frustrating Week of Federal Energy, Climate Politics

It's been a long frustrating week of political shenanigans in Washington D.C...

While we were all distracted with the energy bill last week, and while Democratic leaders congratulated themselves on their "historic victory" on CAFE, the Bush Administration was planning this bait and switch on tailpipe standards and Senate Republicans (e.g. this guy!) were busy sneaking $30 billion in risky loan guarantees for new nukes and coal gasification plants into the Omnibus Spending Bill passed yesterday.

Despite all the rhetoric from both sides of the isle about a historic turning point in US energy policy, I can't help but feel we just got hosed ... big time.

This week has solidly proven that despite winning a narrowly-Democratic Congress in 2006, we have just begun the Power Shift we truly need to enact the transformational energy and climate policies that will set our nation on a path to a sustainable, just, and prosperous 21st Century.

While the Democratic leadership celebrated an incremental victory, we saw a week full of politics as usual.

We've got to be absolutely clear eyed in this: no more politics as usual. Period! All it will yield is more business as usual, and our urgent window of opportunity will close, leaving America and the world forever impoverished.

This quote sums it up pretty well:

“This is a problem of economic transformation, not environmental regulation,” said Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. “The transformation needed will require far more than just passing one law or signing one treaty. It will require the same level of focus and initiative that the Bush administration is devoting to the war on terror. No political leader in the U.S. is approaching this issue yet with anywhere near the seriousness required.”
So let’s you and me - those of us who understand what's truly at stake here - make a pact today: we’ll let Pelosi and the Dems celebrate their incremental victory today.

But we in the movement for climate solutions and a sustainable, just, and prosperous future know what’s truly at stake - for it is our very future on the line - and we will not be fooled into complacency by incremental victories. We will not rest, will not let our leaders off the hook, nor will we declare “mission accomplished” until we complete the truly transformational Power Shift towards a sustainable, just, and prosperous future we desperately need!

How's that for a New Year's Resolution for you?

p.s. Stephen Johnson, President Bush, and Pete Domenici should expect giant lumps of coal for Christmas this year ... as they have for most of their lives I expect. Merry F-ing Christmas, climate culprits.


Phil Mitchell said...

Jesse, I hope you are not too bummed out by these events. In our hearts we know that nothing visionary can happen while Bush is still in office. We are laying the groundwork for transformative politics to happen as soon as he is gone. Keep up your great work!

Jesse Jenkins said...

Hi Phil. Oh I'm certainly bummed, but don't think for a minute that that does anything but steel my resolve for the work ahead.

What has become clear this week is that striving for incremental victories with this Congress is not our primary task. I had held out hope until this week that we could at least win some meaningful victories on the clean energy front, if not on the climate front, before 2009. Sadly, my hopes of that are dwindling rapidly.

But you are dead on. What we must do now, and what this week has proven to me, is redouble our efforts to lay the groundwork for transformative politics, for a fundamental Power Shift!

In solidarity,