George W. Bush did manage to utter the words “global climate change” in his State of the Union speech last night but only as an afterthought to the issue of energy independence. Leading climate scientists such as James Hansen from NASA who have been warning us that we have less than 10 years to begin worldwide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the risk of unstoppable global warming may as well be residing on another planet as far as Bush’s descriptions of the major problems that we face. It appeared that television commentators were complicit in ignoring the urgency of addressing global warming as usual. The rebuttal by the Democrats also completely ignored the problem which didn’t help.
Perhaps some Democrats who are campaigning for president can elevate the issue of global warming to the top of the national agenda where it belongs. Perhaps they can close the present disconnect between scientific understanding and political policy. Perhaps one or more of the candidates can break through the denial which still seems to envelop much of the US population. There are about 150 coal-fired power plants on the drawing board in the US and in China about one such plant is built every week. Someone better do something fast.