WW: What's your take on the lack of climate-change legislation in Congress?
McKibben: They decided that they were going to do health care first. The theory was, that was going to go so well that they'd have lots of points to use on climate change. [Chuckle] That's really not what happened.
Has Obama been a disappointment in that regard?
Yes. I mean, look. I'm glad I don't have the guy's job. I'm not sure anybody could have pulled it off. But so far, he hasn't.
What's the way forward?
We've got to build a political movement big enough to force real action. We're getting overwhelmed by the financial power of the fossil-fuel industry. We're never going to have enough money to compete, so we better find a different currency.
Speaking of the fossil-fuel industry, did you catch that prank phone call between the governor of Wisconsin and a reporter posing as David Koch?
The Koch brothers are trouble, and we're sort of making the point that our big target for the year is the U.S Chamber of Commerce—which is sort of Pepsi to the Koch brothers' Coke. We're running this big nationwide campaign that we launched last month to get small businesses across America to say the U.S. Chamber doesn't speak for me on these [environmental] issues.
Are you coming to Portland any time soon?
I think I'm getting no closer than Seattle this spring. [But] I'd love to come.