Democrats and global warming
A RECENT sketch on “Saturday Night Live” suggested how the world would be if Al Gore had won the presidency in 2000. “In the last six years we have been able to stop global warming,” intoned Mr Gore. “No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack.”
Nerdy environmentalism is Mr Gore’s forte. He would have ridden that hobby-horse in the 2000 campaign, according to Joe Klein in “Politics Lost”, if his political consultants had not muzzled him. Now, almost alone, he has brought his favourite issue back into the political spotlight. His film about the horrors of global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth”, opened this week in Los Angeles and New York.
With it comes inevitable talk of another try at the presidency. Mr Gore consistently waves that away. But other prominent Democrats are raising their voices for the cause. This week Senator Hillary Clinton urged action on global warming in a big speech on energy policy in Washington, DC. Notably, she praised Mr Gore (now a potential rival for 2008, whatever he says) as a “committed visionary on global warming for more than two decades”. Last week, her husband Bill told graduates at the University of Texas’s publicaffairs school in Austin—as temperatures outside soared to 34°C—that “Climate change is more remote than terror, but a more profound threat.”
Do voters care? Although a Gallup poll this spring found that 67% of respondents thought the quality of the environment was “getting worse” (a fairly steady rise from 54% in 2002), climate change is hardly in the class of Iraq or health care. And it is still rare for politicians to mention it on the stump. Bill Ritter, the Democratic nominee for governor in Colorado, notes that global warming is a worry for the ski industry in his state—but says his audiences care more about the quality of their water or their air. Most midwestern politicians nowadays cannot talk enough about alternative fuels, but they link them to the economy (and national security) rather than climate change, hoping for a boost for local corn or soyabean farmers.
A few bad hurricanes may change that indifference. The 2006 season begins next week, and federal meteorologists predict it will be particularly nasty. Although conservatives have vigorously disputed the link between global warming and last year’s dreadful storms, another Katrina could push people over the edge. Gregg Easterbrook of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, says that politicians also need a new tack. Instead of dwelling on gloom and doom, they should appeal to American optimism, emphasising that the problem can probably be solved after all, and cheaper and faster than anyone thinks.
And what about conservatives? George Bush has recently conceded that America is “addicted to oil”, but he still argues about the causes of global warming. (“He may be the last person in America who refuses to accept the science on this,” sighs Jay Inslee, a congressman from Washington state.) John McCain, another possible presidential contender in 2008, has been out in front. He has sponsored legislation (with Joe Lieberman, a Democrat) for cap-and-trade emissions of greenhouse gases, and declared in a recent speech in Phoenix that “Climate change is real and is having a major impact on our way of life.”
[真题例句] He dismisses a lot of the work of re-engineering consultants (②) as mere rubbish—“the worst sort of ambulance-chasing.”[1998年阅读2]
[真题例句] For the women of my generation who were urged (v.①) to keep juggling through the ’80s, downshifting in the mid90s is not so much a search for the mythical good life—growing your own organic vegetables, and risking turning into one—as a personal recognition of your limitations.[2001年阅读5]
[真题例句] From the beginning of our history, says Hofstadter, our democratic and populist urges (n.) have driven us to reject anything that smells of elitism.[2004年阅读4]