Climate groups look post-Bush
Expecting a more aggressive approach, they offer advice to the McCain and Obama campaigns.
With the inauguration of a new president in January come widespread expectations of a more aggressive federal approach to confronting global warming.Skip to next paragraph
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Whoever wins the White House, he will not lack for advice on the topic.
This week, a coalition of scientific societies and university organizations is slated to hand the Obama and McCain campaigns detailed steps and budget estimates for improving America’s ability to monitor and forecast climate trends and severe weather. This October, the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP), based at the University of Colorado at Denver, is expected to offer up an exhaustive agenda for a president’s first 100 and 1,000 days.
The courses for action, according to a detailed draft that PCAP released in December 2007, include those the president can take quickly through executive order, as well as those the president can take in concert with Congress.
For many, global warming is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Last year’s reports from the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that if countries want to try to hold the increase in global average temperatures by the end of the century to 3.6 degrees F. above preindustrial levels, they have a 10- to 15-year window in which to act.
Since the reports were issued, James Hansen, a noted climate scientist who heads the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University in New York, has argued that to avoid some of the projected worst effects, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must fall below levels cited by the IPCC.
Based on campaign positions, both major-party presidential candidates back far more activist national and international approaches to global warming than has the Bush administration. The prospect of change appears to be drawing more participants into the advisory efforts of groups that feel they didn’t have the ear of the current administration.
“We’ve done this kind of transition document for each new administration for a number of years,” as well as for incumbents heading into a second term, says Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society in Boston. But this year’s effort “is more extensive in some ways and involves more organizations.”
That partnership includes longtime collaborator University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the American Geophysical Union, the National Association of Land-Grant Colleges, and other professional and science-advocacy organizations.