"these aren't the metaphors you're looking for...move along..."
Only a Sith thinks in absolutes. Even about global warming.
Full-text of Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act" has emerged in the last coupla; full doc here, for the time-constrained, Barbara Boxer's outline may be found here. There's a lot about off-ramps, dollar levels, and cap-n-trade that I even have a hard time keeping straight, so here's two reviews by the mighty mighty Grist on what it's all about, Alfie.
What I find myself most curious about regarding the bill is the name: "Climate Security Act." The body-planet analogy is the one I hear scientists like E.O. Wilson and James Lovelock use most often, the metaphor that's obviously the most workable. So why not the "Climate Health Act," or "Climate Therapy Act," or "Climate Restoration Act," or "Strengthening Our Planet's Health Act"?
It might be that in the current climate (no pun intended) of a War on Terror, something with a crisp, military sound to it would be most liable to attract votes from both sides of the aisle - to make the pols without internet access or who slut around with oil, gas, coal (and labor) feel as though they're contributing to the mostly-vague notion of energy independence (aka, "independence from foreign oil"). Very possible; we all know that image, timing and theatrics mean a great deal in politicking.
But that name - "Climate Security Act" - also speaks volumes about how America's political class frames global warming: the climate is threatened, "insecure," perhaps even "under attack" from an entity or thing called global warming, and that, much like we now take steps to "secure the homeland" (gah - I can't even stand typing that), we have to "secure the climate."
It's a bold approach, and one I don't entirely disagree with - whatever gets us to the other side of a post-global warming world mostly intact. And as Lakoff reminds, frames don't equal facts. But there's a big problem. First, we've never won any of the Wars on Abstract Nouns, as Terry Jones might say, that we've declared, like the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and now the War on Terror (indeed, in most cases, they've gotten worse). And to paraphrase Jones, how will we know when we've won? Does global warming surrender at some point? Where do we gather to sign the armistice?
Second, and maybe more importantly - no, most importantly - using war and security metaphors negate our responsibility for global warming. There are two sides (well, ostensibly, there are two sides, anyway) in a war, the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. We're always the Good Guys, of course, and so it's up to us to "win" and the Bad Guys - global warming, and hurricanes or something, I suppose - to "lose." But war metaphors remove us from the equation, and we're the ones who started the fucking thing, literally: the United States and just the United States continues to pump more CO2 into the atmosphere then much of the rest of the world combined (though China is close to besting us). Who, then, are we securing the climate from?
Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can find a summary and track the progress of the bill here, and check out some criticism from Greenpeace here.