Obama promises "new chapter" in climate leadership
Barack Obama delivered a brief video message Wednesday to the Governors' Global Climate Summit in Beverly Hills, Calif., in which he unequivocally affirmed the scientific basis of climate change and vowed to take action on cutting carbon emissions, in spite of the troubled global economy.
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Environmentalists welcomed Obama's commitment, which is only the second-major policy announcement made by the president-elect (the other, revealed in a press conference and a 60 Minutes interview, was fixing the economy.)Skip to next paragraph
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Obama's official transition website, Change.gov, displays statements from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund, all praising the address:
"As world leaders gather in the coming weeks in Poland to negotiate a pathway out of the climate crisis, the eyes of the world will be upon America and our newfound resolve to rejoin global efforts," said the National Wildlife Federation's Larry Schweiger.
Of course, promising to curb emissions is one thing. Actually curbing them is another matter. Time Magazine notes that the outcome of Obama's cap-and-trade proposal will depend on the outcome of the current horse-trading in Congress:
For all of Obama's green intentions, however, he can't pass carbon cap-and-trade legislation by fiat — that will require Congress. Many congressional leaders, including some Democrats from coal-heavy states, remain doubtful about the benefits of mandatory carbon caps, especially with the U.S. drowning economically. One key signal will be the outcome of the battle for leadership of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. The contenders: Representative John Dingell of Michigan, who has defended Detroit from tougher fuel-efficiency standards and stood in the way of action on climate change, and the challenger, Henry Waxman of California, who scores high marks from environmentalists.
You can watch Obama's video message here: