Fiscal Cliff?! What About the Climate Cliff, and where is the President?

Van Jones, who was unceremoniously dumped from being an Obama adviser after rightists found his name on a 911Truther petition, barely broke stride from the incident.  He has continued in a variety of capacities, all concerned with ‘greening the economy’ and the unrushing, unmet, challenges of climate change.  Here’s an interview he did with Chris Mooney for Mother Jones Magazine, and picked up by the Guardian, UK

 

What would real climate leadership look like? You gave President Obama a “B” or “B-” on the environment in his first term, what would he have to do to earn an “A” in the second one?

VJ: An “A” would be a major energy and climate bill as a centerpiece of his legacy. He obviously has to deal with the economy and the budget issues that the Tea Party keeps trying to politicize. And there’s a question of immigration reform, which is critical as a major part of the progressive coalition. But, ten years from now, twenty years from now, the only thing people are going to be asking of this president is either, why he didn’t find the courage to do something on climate change, or they’re going to be asking how he found the courage. I think from the viewpoint of history, this is going to be the issue that he’s judged on.
We’ve seen a lot of conversation about this fiscal cliff, which is an invented, manufactured crisis, but very little talk about the climate cliff, which is a real, unavoidable crisis.

MJ: What are the chief actions that you think he can take?

VJ: I’m a board member for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and we just put a piece out this week, talking about ways to use the Clean Air Act to sharply reduce carbon pollution from the existing power plants…that would make a tremendous difference.

The other thing he can do is use the power he has as the president of the United States to force a national conversation. We’ve seen a lot of conversation about this fiscal cliff, which is an invented, manufactured crisis, but very little talk about the climate cliff, which is a real, unavoidable crisis. So if we can have the president of the United States on TV every day talking about the manufactured fiscal cliff, then he can use all of those resources to put pressure on Congress to do something about the real climate cliff.

I also think that it is still the case that the best possible way to get the economy moving is to move in a greener direction. You get on an airplane, you fly coast to coast, you look down, and you see a million rooftops that don’t have solar panels on them. You fly over the plain states, acre after acre, you don’t see wind farms and solar farms, even in places that they could exist.

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And for more read Jeff Markey:

“If our country goes over the fiscal cliff, we will be able to climb back up. But if our planet goes over the climate cliff, we will plunge into an abyss of impacts that we cannot reverse.”

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