“While the worst impacts of climate change, if fully realized, will eventually harm everyone, rich and poor alike, for the wealthiest, there are more immediate concerns. In a recent landmark piece for The Nation, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes lays out the crux of the political problem standing in the way of real change: there’s an estimated twenty trillion dollars in untapped oil reserves that need to be kept deep underground if we hope to stave off total ecological disaster. We simply cannot burn the massive quantity of extant fossil fuels, or go searching for new sources (as the Keystone XL pipeline has). This central contradiction — between the short-term desires of the wealthy and powerful and the long-term needs of everyone else — fundamentally hinders our capacity to imagine real, substantive change.
Regardless of the scope of this challenge, leftists cannot abandon this fight in disillusionment or despair; the stakes are simply too high. Instead, we must shift our perceptions. On their own, issues like campaign finance and elections reform are unlikely to excite the general public. But climate change is a perilous existential threat, and has largely captured the minds of younger generations. It is our responsibility, then, to frame the more esoteric issues that stand in the way of real, substantive political reform within a context of environmental urgency.”
Read the rest at The Suffolk Resolves. “We cannot fix our climate until we fix our politics“