Damian Carrington asks “What does Obama’s victory mean for action on global warming?” at the Guardian.
The short answer is “nothing”.
The reason is that the American legislative process is broken.
For one, with the strange idea of “filibuster” in the Senate, anybody who wants to even get a vote needs a majority of 60 votes out of 100. That assures pretty much that nothing radical will be done in any area. For the record, Obama has only 55 of those votes, and therefore lacks the ability to get anything through the Senate, even with a comfortable majority.
This is unfortunate with global warming, since this is the largest crisis in the history of humanity, and half-baked measures won’t move much.
The situation is even worse in the House of Representatives, where the Republicans still have a majority.
And, basically, American legislation is sold to the highest bidder, which includes fossil fuel interests. Larry Lessig has paid some attention to this issue, but has failed to solve it. It’s impossible to solve, of course. If politicians only do what the lobbyists paying them allow them to do, then the last thing they will be allowed to do is change that situation.
Fortunately, that is also what will matter once the simple solution to global warming gets understood.
That solution, as explained in my global warming science fiction novel “Great News” and in this post, is to get the fossil fuel interests on board. Once they understand that producing and selling less increases their profits as well as the value of their fossil fuel reserves, their lobbying payments will go in the opposite direction. They will send a memo to the Republican party politicians in their pockets that the times have changed after God sent hurricane Sandy to derail Romney’s sure win. Global warming will become very dangerous, once the fossil fuel interests understand that their profit interest is not opposed, but in line with Bill McKibben and 350.org.
It would of course help if McKibben understood that simple game-changing truth himself. Maybe someone could tell him.