Yes, that's the same target Obama pledged at Copenhagen, and the same as the 2009 Waxman-Markey bill. Never mind that the window is "rapidly closing." With fossil-fuel funded deniers controlling the House, with the U.S. Senate no longer bound to 51-vote majority rule, even the strongest advocates for climate action in Congress make no pretense that what's necessary — that what science demands — can be seriously discussed in Washington.
As I write this, President Obama's State of the Union address is still days away. There's chatter about another "strong" statement on climate. But it's too much to expect that the president is finally ready to lead, to level with the American people about what it would actually mean to "respond to the threat of climate change," as he said on January 21 — in a speech invoking Lincoln and the abolition of slavery — and "preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God."
No, the only thing that matters now is whether there are enough of us ready to lead him, and the rest of our country, in the direction that science — and hope, and patriotism, and love — tell us we must go.
This Sunday, in Washington, we'll begin to find out.
"If there is no struggle there is no progress," Frederick Douglass said in 1857. "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Mr. President, I'm with Douglass. And DeChristopher.
Wen Stephenson (@wenstephenson) is a founding member of the grassroots climate-action network 350 Massachusetts.