You may recall that President George W. Bush pledged to do something about climate change when campaigning for the presidency back in 2000—but reneged on that promise once in office. But it appears that President-elect Barack Obama will not follow suit, telling a gathering of governors yesterday that "few issues facing America—and the world—are more urgent than combating climate change":
Obama vowed to take steps to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below that by 2050 via a cap-and-trade program (under which companies are allowed to pollute a certain amount and, if they come in under their limit, to sell credits to companies that exceed their quota). This despite fears that a price on carbon dioxide (CO2), which is emitted pretty much every time you drive a car, build a widget, or what have you, would further damage the U.S. economy, reeling from the credit crunch.
Obama argues in this Web video analogue to FDR's famed fireside chats that employing cap-and-trade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—paired with $15 billion over the next 10 years in new money for solar, wind, "clean coal" and nuclear energy as well as biofuels and energy efficiency projects—will actually create five million new jobs "that can't be outsourced," as well as reduce expensive oil imports (and that climate change, left unchecked, will damage the economy further).
"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," he told the meeting of governors and regional leaders convened by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to address climate change. Obama, however, will not be attending the next international meeting on climate change in Poznan, Poland, in December, because the U.S. "only has one president at a time," he said. "Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious."