Having recently enjoyed the "rockets' red glare" on July 4, our Declaration of Independence came to mind as a way to understand the evolving, and distinctly different, approaches to addressing climate change that are emerging in the United States.
As several states take climate-change matters into their own hands, firmly believing their environment, public health and economies will be much better off by addressing the problem head-on, it's easy to imagine them sending a letter to a president whose administration has been openly hostile to any attempts to limit greenhouse gases. It begins, "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them ..."
Of course, states' rights have long been contentious on many issues — slavery and the Civil War being the most obvious break between our levels of government in America. Since then, people have taken to the streets, and it was their state leaders who subsequently took the first action, on issues as diverse as marriage equality and clean air. But the climate debate is different in two fundamental ways.