Wirth is still “riding the global warming issue.”
President Obama has a “last window of opportunity” to get it right on climate change, U.N. Foundation President Tim Wirth warned this week…
“I can’t blame these guys,” Wirth said of Pershing and Stern. “I don’t know what they could have done to do any better without a different political dynamic. They were under very tight instruction.”
But in a lengthy interview with ClimateWire, Wirth went on to skewer what he described as the Obama administration’s lack of focus on climate change, and outline a comprehensive vision for the coming year.
“I don’t know who and where the climate leadership in the administration is. It doesn’t exist. There is no resolve in the Obama administration to do anything, and I think they look at Congress and say, ‘We can’t do anything, so why break our pick now?'” Wirth said.
He argued that the administration and environmental groups alike must “spend the year 2012 setting the table for the next four years.” Dismissing the possibility of a Republican win in November, Wirth called a second Obama administration term “the last window of opportunity” to enact policies that can avert a catastrophic rise in global temperatures.
“It’s the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” he said. “If we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place”…
Topping the list, he said, was “clarifying” public opinion on climate change and identifying different political constituencies on climate action — ones he delineated as: “big committed,” “probably,” “not really paying attention,” “couldn’t care less” and “it’s all a big fraud.” He called for a series of strategies related to climate science as well as finding new ways to energize the 60 to 65 percent of Americans he claimed are in favor of taking significant steps to address climate change.
“You have to identify the language to talk to them,” Wirth said. “It’s not a matter of putting more science in front of the American public. It’s a very sophisticated, modern, cognitive analysis.” Meanwhile, the solutions he outlined never strayed toward sweeping cap-and-trade or carbon tax legislation, but rather were building block measures like energy efficiency and research and development on clean energy and natural gas, of which Wirth has been a major advocate. He also argued that the White House should tap a new point person — like John Podesta, who is stepping down from the liberal Center for American Progress — to head up a series of task forces on climate and energy.
“We have to get the administration to talk about this during the campaign. He’s [Obama] got to have the right language for this. It’s got to be made a priority, and he’s got to talk about it on a steady basis,” Wirth said. “There’s no magic moment, and there’s no magic bullet, just basic coalition-building. It’s hard work and it’s very tedious, but this is the last window of opportunity.”
Global warming aficionados will remember this infamous Tim Wirth quote from the 1990s:
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”