To Our Coy Leaders
With apologies to Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, leaders, were no crime.
Trudeau, Obama, Modi, Xi,
Might ponder for a year, or three,
To calculate the min and max
That’s needed for a carbon tax.
We might imagine some new way
To lower carbon, every day.
If we had time, we’d contemplate
A drop in our emission rate;
We’d meet in Paris, meet in Rome,
And plan to weatherize each home.
Our CO2 ideas would grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
A hundred years might go to praise
Our plan to limit smog and haze;
We’d sing of glaciers, cold and fair,
And we would laud the polar bear;
We’d eulogize the Jersey shore,
And sing these hymns for decades more.
Our senators in Washington
Could mock the experts, just for fun,
Denying science all day long,
Because debate is never wrong;
Republicans could drag their heels,
Until they get how hot it feels.
We might wait years, and just sit tight
Till Sarah Palin sees the light.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity;
Yet by the Indian Ganges’ bank
The coal still burns, the motors crank!
If we just wait, I strongly doubt
That we’ll survive the storms and drought.
Each year a threatened species dies,
And everywhere, the oceans rise.
(As water climbs up to our knees,
You say, “Our target’s 2 degrees.”)
Where will beauty then be found,
When red state leaders come around?
Our carbon taxes won’t mean much
When Greenland’s ice has turned to mush.
So put aside that champagne cup,
Dear leader — now! And listen up!
There’s time for you to still be great:
Just pass some bills! It’s not too late!
We hope, that is, it’s not too late,
As we now mull the planet’s fate.
So as we drink our Christmas rum,
Let’s pray for Christmases to come.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas from the Energy Nerd. Martin’s previous holiday greetings include The Raven, Casey Makes a Bet, The Energy Grinch, his Macbeth parody, his parodies of Christmas carols, and his parody of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
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