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U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D, MA) recently held a climate change conference call with several environmentally-oriented bloggers, including myself. I was impressed by his depth of knowledge and clear concern about the implications of climate change, but still discouraged to hear, first-hand, how difficult it is to get good ideas transformed into good laws. As Kerry said, there are still many global warming deniers in Congress, and others who believe the science are still on the fence or reluctant to take too strong an action for one reason or another. So getting enough votes to enact anything with real teeth that has a prayer of curbing global warming is, well, like pulling teeth.

I mentioned to my husband how discouraged I felt after the call. “Kerry’s saying and doing the right things, but Congress isn’t going to do the meaningful things it needs to do now to stop this runaway train,” I complained. My husband’s answer was a wakeup call to me: “Well, what else is there?”

True, I realized. They might be frustratingly influenced by myriad special interests and prone to making decisions based on political, rather than scientific, reasoning. But we in the U.S. don’t have any other national leaders to turn to when we’re looking for effective climate change law.

Kerry himself offered a good suggestion: keep the pressure on so-called moderates who support the science but could do more, he said. Pay special attention to legislators from the states most likely to feel the early effects of climate change — coastal states, for example. It was useful advice, and I’m hoping to follow it in the days, weeks and months to come. I’ll try to keep you posted with any followups in that regard.

In the meantime, to read more about the Kerry conference call, check out my post at