America Moves At A Glacial Pace

Which is one reason why Ezra fears the Arctic’s glaciers will become a thing of the past:

The American political system is designed to move slowly. The Founders feared haste, and so they made it, except in the rarest circumstances, impossible. As Sven Steinmo and Jon Watts wrote in their seminal essay “It’s the Institutions, Stupid“,  “the game of politics in America is institutionally rigged against those who would use government — for good or evil. James Madison’s system of checks and balances, the very size and diversity of the nation, the Progressive reforms which undermined strong and programmatic political parties and the many generations of congressional reforms have all worked to fragment political power in America.”

But most issues can wait. … If climate change were an issue like health-care reform or the budget deficit I wouldn’t be a pessimist. My skepticism that we will act with sufficient force soon doesn’t translate into a belief that the world won’t want to act with force later. But climate change has a “game over” quality to it. Once we’ve filled the atmosphere with 800 or 1,000 parts per millions of carbon dioxide the consequences are out of our control.