Negotiating Climate Policy: My “Eureka” Moment

Joel B. Stronberg
7 min readNov 10, 2021
Image of US Capitol courtesy of NASA

Don’t you just love it when the solution to a problem hits you — suddenly the fog lifts, the trumpets blare, you’re bathed in uplifting light, and your inner voices yell in unison — well, duh?

I had just such a moment the other morning when through sleep encrusted eyes, it came clear to me. The transcendent problem with negotiating climate policy is — there’s no tomorrow.

I realize this is hardly the equal of a Damascus road conversion and that on the international epiphany scale, it would rank no higher than a 2 or 3 out of 10. Still, it can bring some clarity to the problem of why our nation’s politicos appear so inept when it comes to enacting the policies required to rise to the challenges of Earth’s warming.

When I say there’s no tomorrow, I’m not speaking euphemistically of the food insecurity suffered by ten percent of Earth’s population, the next great extinction of animal and plant species on Earth, or the estimated tens of millions of migrants, who annually are being forced from their lands because of too much or too little water, or the other dystopian consequences that await if our politicians continue to fail us.

No, what I’m musing about is the nature of today’s politics. As if it wasn’t clear before, the pandemic has shown us that demagoguery now trumps everything else in today’s political world — including facts and party affiliation.

Trump has completely taken over the Republican brand. To be cast as a loyal Republican, one must first be recognized as a loyal Trumpeter. These days, the test of a true Republican is the willingness to put truth aside and agree Biden is a usurper who should be denied the presidency even now.

At the moment, the Democrats lack a Trump-like leader. Since the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders has served as a sort of demagogue-in-waiting. Biden’s swift reversal in the primaries and his election has tamped down the rise of a charismatic leader from within the Democratic ranks.

The progressives in Congress — especially on the House side — are serving the galvanizing function that a leader of the pack might otherwise fulfill. Should the Democrats somehow manage to keep their majority status in the House and Senate after the votes are tallied on November 8…

Joel B. Stronberg

Stronberg is a thought leader in the climate community with over 40 years of experience covering environmental and sustainability issues as a freelancer.