Is Obama Serious About Breaking Our Catastrophic Oil Addiction?
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I’m putting this all on Obama, even though it’s clear that he can’t do it by himself. He’d need a movement to make real progress. That’s the tragedy, though: he’s already got a movement. He was elected with millions of us sending him money, knocking on doors, standing in snow banks with signs. He commands a standing army (albeit one that’s growing rusty from disuse and a little demoralized).
And it’s not just here. Across the world, we at 350.org were able to organize giant demonstrations last year -- 5,200 of them in 181 countries, what Foreign Policy called “the largest ever coordinated global rally of any kind." We did it the way Kennedy did, by rallying people around a hard goal instead of an easy one: 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide which, according to NASA scientists, is the most we can safely have in the atmosphere. Since we’re already past that point -- at 390 ppm -- we need to work harder than we could ever have imagined. We really do need to get off oil in the coming decade.
But to have a chance we need a leader. We need someone to stand up and tell it the way it is, and in language so compelling and dramatic it sets us on a new path. On this planet of nearly seven billion, at this moment in history, there’s exactly one person who could play that role. And so far he hasn't decided.