Busy week for climate change

November 20, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Climate and economy, Climate and politics | Leave a comment
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It’s been another busy week for pronouncements and announcements about climate change.  Indeed, it seems with each passing day since Senator Barack Obama was declared President-elect, the Google alert lists for ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ grow longer.

At the start of the week, President-elect Obama signaled that climate change is a priority issue for his administration by addressing via video message an international conference on global warming hosted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. 

In his message, Obama reiterated his plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and pave the way for deeper reductions by 2050 with investments in clean energy. 

According to The Boston Globe, Obama said in his message:

“Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change,” he said in the video. “Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security.”

Obama continued that “too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office. My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.”

He also told the conference participants he has asked members of Congress to attend the upcoming meeting of world leaders in Poland to discuss a new climate-change treaty and report back to him. 

Meanwhile, five major U.S. companies – Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Sun Microsystems and Timberland – called for congressional action on climate and energy policies in 2009.  The companies are working in partnership with Ceres, a national network of investors and environmental organizations. 

With the Ceres network, they have launched a new business coalition to lobby for clean energy legislation, according to The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch. 

To top it all off, on the same day that the U.S. Senate said farewell to its longest serving Republican, and oil industry favorite, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, a shakeup in the power structure of the U.S. House of Representatives took place that could speed passage of such legislation. 

In the shakeup, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrested the committee chairmanship position for the House Energy and Commerce Commitee from long-time chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who has frequently stalled action on climate change in the past.  For background on Rep. Dingell’s actions in the House, check out Frank O’Donnell’s post on Grist.


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