Stone Cold Carbon Freeze
It was a very brief interview and Gore didn't have time to expand on it, but the idea of a "carbon freeze" has stuck in my mind ever since. So, I was happy to see that his latest climate speech carried the notion a bit further. Gore said:
So, what would a responsible approach to the climate crisis look like if we had one in America?The carbon-freeze idea was just one part of the speech, which you should read in full. But I wonder, how do other folks react to it? Does it seem "simplistic and naive" or does it derive power from being, as Gore says, "clear, simple, and easy to understand" -- "a logical starting point"?
Well, first of all, we should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions. Merely engaging in high-minded debates about theoretical future reductions while continuing to steadily increase emissions represents a self-delusional and reckless approach. In some ways, that approach is worse than doing nothing at all, because it lulls the gullible into thinking that something is actually being done when in fact it is not.
An immediate freeze has the virtue of being clear, simple, and easy to understand. It can attract support across partisan lines as a logical starting point for the more difficult work that lies ahead. I remember a quarter century ago when I was the author of a complex nuclear arms control plan to deal with the then rampant arms race between our country and the former Soviet Union. At the time, I was strongly opposed to the nuclear freeze movement, which I saw as simplistic and naive. But, three-quarters of the American people supported it -- and as I look back on those years I see more clearly now that the outpouring of public support for that very simple and clear mandate changed the political landscape and made it possible for more detailed and sophisticated proposals to eventually be adopted.
When the politicians are paralyzed in the face of a great threat, our nation needs a popular movement, a rallying cry, a standard, a mandate that is broadly supported on a bipartisan basis.