Walking Backward From Cataclysm
A Bright Lines Climate Strategy
& Model US Campaigns & Program Plan
February 7, 2007
by Ken Ward
Introduction. Our climate agenda is inadequate and may even be detrimental to the sort of effort U.S.
environmentalists must now undertake. I'd like to offer for comment an alternative "bright lines" framework for
climate action, and propose a shift in role and agenda for U.S. environmentalists that takes account of the
circumstances in which we find ourselves and squarely faces the almost incomprehensible challenge before
Our goal, put starkly and simply, is to prevent the planned investment of $20 trillion over the
next 25 years to increase fossil fuel supply, substituting in its place a crash global program --
capitalized at the same level -- to cut emissions, improve efficiencies, and develop renewables.
The choice should not be viewed, in the frequently invoked Robert Frost imagine, as " two roads diverged."
The world is committed whole hog to fossil fuels, and there is no other road -- yet.
To create one will require restructuring the world's largest corporations, inventing appealing, low- or zero-
carbon consumer products, and convincing the world's most powerful, nuclear-weapon-equipped nations to
leave their reserves of oil, gas, and coal in the ground. We have less than a decade to do it.
Tectonic social change on such a scale is rapid, haphazard, and non-linear. It cannot be achieved in the time
left to us by incremental, measured steps. The image of change we should carry in our minds is not Cape
Wind or Toyota Prius, but the Berlin Wall crashing down.
No significant steps to taper off fossil fuel will be taken in the near term -- not because reasonable people do
not want to avert cataclysm, but because they can't. No matter how committed its leaders, BP cannot go
against its nature and swim away from the other fish of its kind. BP must aggressively expand its oil and gas
exploration and extractions, even as it rolls out ad campaigns on car