Opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline Tests the Administration’s Resolve on Climate Change : The New Yorker
“In every generation, there’s an overwhelming issue that people may not recognize at the time, but that becomes the issue that is the measure of what you did,” [Tom Steyer] said. “In World War Two, if you look back, everybody was measured by what they said in the thirties and what they did in the forties. Charles Lindbergh was the biggest hero in the United States of America, and he went wrong on the biggest issue of the day, and that was the end of him. Look back to where people came out on civil rights in the fifties and sixties: maybe you were right about economic policy then, but, if you blew it on the big issue, then that’s the measure.” Climate change, Steyer insisted, “is the issue we’ll get measured by as a country and a generation. If we blow this, it will be because we were very focussed on the short term, on our pocketbooks, and we had no broader sense of what we were trying to do and what we were trying to pass on.”
...Steyer’s top policy adviser on climate is Kate Gordon, who previously worked at the Center for American Progress, an influential liberal think tank in Washington. After the summer of 2010, she said, the environmental movement, which had been unusually united in support of Obama’s climate bill, fractured. “Everything crashed and burned, and immediately all those groups retreated to their corners,” Gordon said.
...Accounts of Obama’s private views about his second-term climate agenda suggest that he sees the E.P.A. rules as his real legacy on the issue, and that he’s skeptical of the environmentalists’ claims about Keystone. “He thinks the greenhouse-gas numbers have been inflated by opponents,” Ambassador Doer said. Journalists who discussed the issue with Obama earlier this year in off-the-record sessions said that he told them the same thing.