Bill Clinton stopped by a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Seattle late Thursday, Nov. 1, and sought to re-frame discussion about global warming. We're not going to get the action we need, said Clinton, unless we can present the issue as an opportunity, both for the U.S. and for developing nations such as China and India, where growth is fueled by coal-fired generators. Clinton praised his former vice president, Al Gore, for his Nobel-ity in pushing the alarm button on global warming. But rather than list inconvenient truths, Clinton moved the discussion to a place of persuasion. "We will not get a global agreement on climate change unless we can prove it's the greatest economic opportunity of our lifetime," he told the audience. "This is an opportunity. It's not a burden." In a speech long on policy and short on stirring phrases, Clinton said advocates of green industry need to find ways to push down the cost of energy-saving technologies to make them more attractive. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are getting cheaper, start faster, and give off a better color, so they are more appealing to customers. That starts a trend that accelerates as people move to other new products and technologies out of economic self interest. Jobs grow as companies meet demand. Spread across large populations and in big organizations, the effects are enormous. For example, Wal-Mart has reduced packaging by 5 percent with the net effect of taking 200,000 diesel trucks off the road. (How all these statistics get worked up wasn't clear.) Clinton used the occasion to announce an agreement with Wal-Mart, other companies, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to speed the use of lower-energy technologies. (Details were sketchy). The event at Benaroya Hall was hosted by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who has gained national attention for rallying other mayors to a climate action agenda. By stressing a message of jobs and hope, Clinton was attempting to recast discussion of global warming, which is often characterized by guilt and hopelessness. Done right, this could be the greatest opportunity for jobs we've seen in a generation, he said. I agree. This is the way to unite Red and Blue America. The Man from Hope again is suggesting the common ground where Americans can be reached and motivated: It's the economy, stupid.