Climate change is obviously on everyone's mind these days. Designers and architects have been jumping wholeheartedly on to the sustainability bandwagon - and for good cause. It is essential, however, that politicians begin to understand the importance of this issue, because at the end of the day, the world we live in is a political one. Business deals, planning decisions, and urban management are all subject to political review. Nothing is exempt.

Enter Al Gore. The piece in Time is a very well written, provocative look into Gore's forthcoming book, The Assault on Reason, as well as a timely discussion of his metamorphosis into something beyond politics, beyond the presidency. Because at the end of the day, he's more powerful as a private citizen than as any bureaucrat.

"What would President Gore do? Well, on Capitol Hill in March, Citizen Gore offered his ideas. He advocates an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions and a campaign of sharp reductions—90% by 2050. To get there, he would eliminate the payroll tax and replace it with a carbon tax, so the cost of pollution is finally priced into the market. "I understand this is considered politically impossible," he told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "But part of our task is to expand the limits of what's possible." He would adopt a cap-and-trade program that would allow U.S. industry to meet reduction targets in part by trading pollution credits. Critics often dismiss carbon offsets as the green equivalent of religious indulgences, but in fact they stimulate the market—moving entrepreneurs to find dirty plants, clean them up and sell the CO2 reductions. Gore also wants a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants that don't capture and store their carbon emissions and much higher fuel-economy standards for cars. After Gore presented these views on Capitol Hill, critics assailed them as costly, unworkable economy cripplers. His reply: in a few years, when the crisis worsens, these proposals "will seem so minor compared to the things people will be demanding then." And, of course, he's not running for anything these days. He's in the vision business now."

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