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President-elect Obama Signals He Will Restore American Leadership on Global Warming

Jake Schmidt

Posted November 18, 2008 in Solving Global Warming

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At a global warming summit convened today in California, President-elect Obama signaled that he will make addressing global warming the high priority it deserves.  In the video statement telecast (here) to summit attendees from around the US and the world he stated:

"Few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change...My presidency will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change..."

As NRDC President Frances Beinecke stated in response:

"President-elect Obama's vow to begin 'a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change' demonstrates both his leadership and the priority he places on attacking this threat to our environment, our economy and our energy security. His call for federal cap legislation as his second major policy announcement sends a signal to the country and the world that the U. S. will act promptly to combat this triple threat. This shows that President-Elect Obama understands that the fastest, best way to turn our economy around, create jobs and solve the climate crisis is to spur investment in our clean energy future."

And with the next international climate negotiation set to occur in Poland in just under two weeks, he also signaled that he will restore America's leadership in international global warming negotiations.  He stated that:

"...once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change".

He's now signaled to the world that "the US is back" at the serious negotiation table to "work together" to solve this problem:

"Let me also say a special word to the delegates from around the world who will gather in Poland next month: your work is vital to the planet."

While he pointed out that he won't be going to the next negotiation in Poland in December (since he won't yet be President), he asked the Members of Congress that will be attending the negotiations to report back on what they learn.  With his statement today and his request for a report back from Members of Congress attending the Poland meeting, the President-elect has sent the signal that the delegates have waited so long to hear (as I discussed here).

Now the hard work will begin to engage with Members of Congress to adopt a cap on US global warming emissions, invest in creating new green jobs, and delivering a global response to the challenge.  This is a great positive signal to the world that he will restore America's leadership as leaders from around the world were calling for him to do.  So, a little momentum is building towards the global agreement to be reached in Copenhagen in December 2009.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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