When the history of climate change is written -- from, presumably, a very well air-conditioned lair someplace -- this week's surrender by the Democrats will occupy a prominent chapter -- at least as prominent as that on Copenhagen Dec-09, and probably even greater.
The Democrats simply said: we give up. Perhaps Obama did not have much political capital left. Perhaps you can blame it on the deep and stubborn recession. Perhaps you can blame it on the professional prevaricators like Marc Morano and James Inhofe.
Without the US -- the world's only superpower and one of the gigantic historical contributors to climate change (and also, let's be fair, to revealing and understanding its science) -- then the rest of the world is unlikely to do anything significant.
And if we can't do it now, it's unlikely we'll be able to do anything for years. The issue is just not prone to crises and the American public is apparently too...dumb...to understand the long-term implications of our current energy usage.
And too selfish.
As I heard Nate Lewis (of Caltech) point out at a conference last year, we're really always planning for about 40 years down the road. In other words, the design + construction + working time for energy infrastructure is about 40 years. In other words, we're now pretty much guaranteed that energy production in the year 2050 is going to look pretty much as it does today. That's a frightening thought.
I can't imagine anything more that scientists, journalists, thinkers, concerned citizens, and writers can do to change this to any significant extent.
Not a thing.