[snip] And any one of them can cancel out your vote. Kevin Coyle, author of Environmental Literacy in America, quoted at worldchanging.com, finds “a persistent pattern of environmental ignorance even among the most educated and influential members of society.” Actually, ignorance may be too weak a word. The U.S. population is 298 million, and 45 million of us “think the ocean is a source of fresh water; 120 million think spray cans still have CFCs in them even though CFCs were banned in 1978; another 120 million people think disposable diapers are the leading problem with landfills when they actually represent about 1% of the problem; and 130 million believe that hydropower is America’s top energy source, when it accounts for just 10% of the total.”

[snip] What was he saying when he had the power to do some good? Greg Mankiw, former chair of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, proposes at wsj.com that public officials make the following New Year’s resolutions: “This year I will admit that there are some good taxes. . . . I will tell the American people that a higher tax on gasoline is better at encouraging conservation than are heavy-handed CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] regulations. . . . I will tell people that tolls are a good way to reduce traffic congestion. . . . I will advocate a carbon tax as the best way to control global warming.”

[snip] The makeover continues. “Our planet’s future depends on our redesigning the current energy system, which relies on fossil fuels that emit tremendous amounts of carbon and greenhouse gases into the air,” says Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, on its Web site. “Climate change is an urgent threat. . . . We plan to reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over the next eight years. We will also design a store that will use 30% less energy and produce 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than our 2005 design within the next 3 years.”