"As I write this piece, we're in the midst of a (biodiesel) road trip to Washington, D.C., towing behind us an unwieldy piece of history: a solar panel off the roof of the Carter White House. It's decades old, though it still makes hot water just fine. In a sense, we're traveling backward -- which in another sense is what I think we're going to have to do for a while in the U.S. climate movement.
The bad news everyone knows. The strongest attempt ever to pass climate legislation through the U.S. Congress came up short earlier this summer. The inside-the-Beltway green groups took what seemed to be the route of least resistance: a very tame piece of climate legislation larded with special prizes for special interests. They worked it as hard as it could have been worked -- and in the end it didn't even come close. The fossil fuel industry and their allies in D.C. barely had to break a sweat shooting it down.
So -- barring some unforeseen development -- we're not going to see significant action on the federal level about climate for at least the next two years.
And that means we're far less likely to see significant international action on climate, since it's hard for other governments to muster the political will to make tough choices when the U.S. is punting.
So what do we do with those two years? I think we use them to build a movement, which explains the solar panel we're hauling south from Maine."
Bill McKibben writes in the Huffington Post September 11, 2010.
Opinion: "Solar Dreams and Reality at the White House" (Dot Earth)
"Jimmy Carter's Solar Panel Returns To DC" (Mother Jones)
Washington Forum: "Bring Solar Power Back to the White House"
"Vermont Environmentalist Meeting With President Over Solar Panel Use in White House"