We are, at long last, starting to see some Republicans inch their way out of the closet: a toe here, a foot there, followed by some carefully hedged statement hinting that the United States government might actually need a climate policy.
My favorite case is that of John Barrasso, the powerful senator from Wyoming, a state heavily dependent on coal mining. He long used his influence to block climate legislation, and only two years ago he received an award from the Heartland Institute, which does its best to deceive the public about the climate problem.
This year, he has come out as an advocate for climate action. And he is not just talking: He is shepherding a transportation infrastructure bill through the Senate that would, for the first time, recognize the need to limit emissions from cars and trucks, authorizing $10 billion in programs for that purpose. If it passes in its current form, that bill will be a milestone.
What this whole trend really tells us is that the Republicans — some of them, at least — are starting to sense political risk in continued climate denial. Their constituents, battered by the fires and torrential rains and the incessant rise of tidal flooding, are knocking on the closet door.
Frank Luntz, the pollster who wrote a scurrilous memorandum 17 years ago counseling Republicans to obfuscate the science of climate change, is among those who have come around.
Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future
by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann
How climate change will affect our political theory—for better and worse. Despite the science and the summits, leading capitalist states have not achieved anything close to an adequate level of carbon mitigation. There is now simply no way to prevent the planet breaching the threshold of two degrees Celsius set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What are the likely political and economic outcomes of this? Where is the overheating world heading? Available On Amazon
Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
by Jared Diamond
Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet. Available On Amazon
Global Commons, Domestic Decisions: The Comparative Politics of Climate Change
by Kathryn Harrison et al
Comparative case studies and analyses of the influence of domestic politics on countries' climate change policies and Kyoto ratification decisions. Climate change represents a “tragedy of the commons” on a global scale, requiring the cooperation of nations that do not necessarily put the Earth's well-being above their own national interests. And yet international efforts to address global warming have met with some success; the Kyoto Protocol, in which industrialized countries committed to reducing their collective emissions, took effect in 2005 (although without the participation of the United States). Available On Amazon