03/31/2009 11:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011


I see the Global Financial Crisis is now popularly known by the initials GFC. A little strange (was the 1929 Wall Street Crash called WSC?) but I guess both the acronym and the longer title (itself a shorthand description, though much better than the "meltdown" that was used initially) have the advantage of precisely focusing attention on the set of problems that have emerged as a result of decades of neoconservative meddling with western economies. When the G20 leaders sit down around the big polished table, agenda item one would only need to have "GFC" for everyone to look serious and get out their copies of Keynes, national check books, and the "Guide to regulating a modern economy for dummies" in paperback. Nothing like the phrase "Global Financial Crisis" for concentrating the mind.

I see President Obama is calling together some of his new G20 friends for a chat about climate change later. Could I suggest to him not to use the soothing, no need to panic, nothing happening here folks, Luntz-inspired phrase "Climate Change" on the agenda. A term that will have leaders muttering about emissions trading, and nuclear power, and clean coal, and all the other nonsense that the energy company magical misdirection has come up with, and thinking ahead to an excellent White House lunch. Instead, President Obama, go for something short and snappy. Something like, oh, I don't know, the "Global Warming Crisis" or GWC.

And keep saying it in your introductory speech. The GWC this. The GWC that. Make them understand that they all face being hung in the morning if they don't act urgently, right now in fact, on the GWC. Get them focused, thinking renewable energy, 80% reduction, technology transfer, energy conservation, biodiversity protection, adaptation help for poor countries, 350ppm; serious goals and solutions for a crisis. Get them sweating, making notes, huddling in corners in small groups, taking off jackets, working out deals and programs, eating limp sandwiches as they work, making phone calls, having estimates prepared by harried aides, bursting into applause at the end of the day.

You want to save the world economies? Deal with the GFC. You want to save the world? Deal with the GWC.

Plenty of urgency on climate change at TWB (The Watermelon Blog).