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The window to get a grip on the serious threat of climate change and the serious response we must make is said to be about 10 years. Ten effing years! That doesn’t mean the water in Richardson Bay swells over the shoreline and races up to the Depot in Mill Valley ten years from today — though it certainly might get to the Redwood High playing fields given the right conditions. It does mean that the wagon we are sitting in will have crested the hill and begun to pick up speed on the long terrifying ride down.

And of that ten years one year is completely lost because the idiots are still in charge. So what should Obama/Clinton do upon arrival in the White House? Chris Mooney, [Storm World, and The Republican War on Science] one of the dependables when it comes to global warming, the science and the policy, offers this.

…the time is right for a new president to sweep into office, define climate as a first-tier priority, and bring about a sea change — at least a figurative one in policy to stop a real one in the oceans. The initiative should start with a major speech in the first 100 or 150 days in which the president calls the nation to a historic challenge and lays out a plan. Dealing with global warming will not spell the end of the economy, but there will assuredly be costs — costs, that is, to avert even greater costs. We will be raising the price for some forms of energy use because they bring with them dire consequences (like the ultimate inundation of Florida). But by beginning to move away from carbon-based energy sources, we will also create many new economic opportunities, while also preventing intolerable and irreversible changes to the Earth. On any ledger sheet worth reading, dealing with global warming leaves us well in the black.

Even before the speech, the president will need to appoint a team committed to the endeavor. As New Hampshire’s Carbon Coalition has outlined, that means an Environmental Protection Agency administrator, a presidential science adviser, an Office of Management and Budget director, and a Council of Economic Advisers chair who all know what’s coming and are ready for it. It also probably means a high-level international climate envoy — preferably someone with a household name. (Guess who.) Hillary Clinton has further promised to create a National Energy Council in the White House, parallel to the National Security Council and headed by a top energy adviser. The council would coordinate both the federal response to climate change and the necessary accompanying energy policies.

Whatever the structure of policy-making at the highest levels, the staffing mandate has to extend down the ladder and throughout the agencies. The Bush administration offers a model in reverse. It installed people in the disparate branches of the federal bureaucracy who excelled at censoring scientists and at keeping global warming off the agenda. The next administration must be staffed by people who understand and accept the science and are committed to getting to work on the problem.

American Prospect