The Weekly Planet: The Question That Haunts Climate Advocates

The Atlantic discusses The Question That Haunts Climate Advocates. It’s not “Will Donald Trump win?”

Every so often, a moment comes along when progress suddenly feels inevitable.

A popular presidential candidate says that few crises “are more urgent than combatting climate change.” Major oil companies—led by BP—are planning for a less carbon-intensive future. About two out of three Americans say that climate change will shape how they vote.

Does all that sound exciting? I hope not. I’m describing the world in 2008, when Barack Obama took office promising that climate-change legislation would be one of his top priorities. But he never passed major climate legislation, even though Democrats held a majority in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his term.

That moment—more than any other—now haunts the activists, wonks, politicians, and philanthropists who seek to pass climate policy in the United States. As another Democratic candidate vows to make climate central to his agenda, they are asking: Is this time different?

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