As I write this, Gustav is barreling towards the Gulf Coast. It may hit landfall concurrent with the start of the Republican Convention next week. No matter how carefully choreographed the pageantry, we can never be certain that anything will turn out as planned – or that our elected officials of either party will develop or implement sound public policies addressing climate change or any of the other critical issues facing the United States.
Yesterday, I attended a panel on the “Pickens Plan”, with T. Boone Pickens and Carl Pope. John Podesta of the Center for American Progress moderated, and also enumerated the unfortunately all-too-familiar signs of climate change. Carl laid out his vision of what America needs to do – “repower, refuel, and rebuild” – and the role that our government must play.
But it was Mr. Pickens’ words that really stood out to me. He readily acknowledged that his wealth and prominence in the corporate world give him access to the ears of any number of public officials. But, he noted, access doesn’t equal action – and he pressed everyone in the audience to get involved and exert the necessary pressure to get things done, at every level of government. Whatever progressives may think of the Pickens Plan, and there’s been loads of analysis in lots of places, we can’t argue with that exhortation. (Mr. Pickens also previewed an ad that he said the traditional media wouldn’t play over the airwaves, in which he claimed that Iran is converting its vehicles to natural gas – one of his main goals here, too. By the time you read this, it may have been uploaded to You Tube or other blogs.)