Image used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user darkmatter.
The wave of optimism that American environmentalists rode into 2008 reached its zenith sometime around April 22 -- Earth Day. Green was everywhere, from the pages of Sports Illustrated to NBC's Green Week to a new cable channel, Planet Green. Armed with an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, Al Gore announced a $300 million global-warming advertising campaign. In the Democratic presidential primary, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton competed over who had the strongest climate and energy record, and John McCain marked his "maverick" status by his intermittent support for legislation to cap carbon emissions.