Bernie Sanders has a smart rejoinder to the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, a welcome bipartisan effort to tackle a serious problem that, unfortunately, doesn't tackle the problem:

Today, however, we have a qualitatively different situation. I wish it wasn't so, but it is. The issue is not what I want versus what Senator Lieberman or Senator Warner or Senator Inhofe may want -- and the need to work out an agreement that we can all accept. That's not the dynamic we face today. The issue today is one of physics and chemistry and what the best scientists in the world believe is happening to our planet because of greenhouse gas emissions. The issue is what we can do, as a nation, along with the international community, to reverse global warming and to save this planet from a catastrophic and irreversible damage which could impact billions of people.



The tragic element here is that had Al Gore taken office in January 2001 we might have found ourselves in a situation where we were debating something along these lines in 2002 or 2003 when something like Lieberman-Warner could have been an adequate first step. But as time goes by the fact that there's both more carbon in the air, and a warmer planet, and a higher baseline level of emissions all make it less-and-less viable to start gently.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.