Monday, November 10, 2008

Climate "change" we can believe in

Leading off the agenda: dealing with climate change. Obama can start by reversing the regulations the Bush administration is working on as we speak to allow drilling in Utah near Arches and Canyonlands (and Moab, I might add!). He can also reverse the block of California's emissions experimentation. But these are largely symbolic. Doing something about climate change is going to take massive, organized, cooperative global efforts. Obama knows this: the recent Newsweek wrap-up of his campaign, in a vignette designed to highlight his frustrations with the facile nature of the campaign process, illustrated his views on climate change quite well:

So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f–––ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

So Obama knows that simply putting some compact flourescents in your sockets, while personally virtuous (and while you're there, check out the rather scary Cheney picture), won't cut it on a large scale. So what will?

"To be effective, this is only possible at the level of international cooperation -- far more difficult to achieve than any technological breakthrough. There is a rendezvous next year in Copenhagen in late November which the entire world of climate expertise is preparing itself for and which is considered by many in the field to be our best and possibly last hope of addressing the problem before it runs away from us. It is the truly global successor to Kyoto, known in the trade as COP (Conference of Parties) 15. There is a case to be made that it will be one of the most important international meetings ever convened. If it does not result in practical, radical measures, the fight to control our future could well be lost. Every nation on the planet will be represented. The general feeling is that the conference cannot be allowed to fail. And it cannot succeed without the leadership of the United States. There are fears that Mr. Obama will move too cautiously on climate change for political reasons, and that would be a tragic error. As Mr. Schellnhuber says, 'If he were prepared to come in person to Copenhagen and make a speech, a bold commitment, similar to what Reagan did in Reykjavik, he would become a hero of the planet, for good.'"

A New Dawn -

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