Through the magic of video, President-elect Barack Obama will encourage governors and others today to tackle global warming -- an issue he highlighted during the campaign.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is hosting a two-day summit, drawing several fellow governors plus more than 600 environmental officials and activists from around the world.
Obama is pledging to make America more energy independent and to also slash carbon emissions by focusing on alternative sources such as wind and solar. He is also vowing to work more cooperatively with other nations on climate change.
"Few challenges facing America -- and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change," he says in the video. "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security.
Obama continues 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.
"That will start with a federal cap and trade system," he says. "We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 percent by 2050. Further, we will invest $15 billion each year to catalyze private sector efforts to build a clean energy future. We will invest in solar power, wind power, and next generation biofuels. We will tap nuclear power, while making sure it’s safe. And we will develop clean coal technologies.
"This investment will not only help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, making the United States more secure. And it will not only help us bring about a clean energy future, saving our planet. It will also help us transform our industries and steer our country out of this economic crisis by generating five million new green jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced."
UPDATE: Schwarzenegger noted that California has enacted many of the proposals and completed many of the partnerships that Obama is supporting.
“This administration will adopt, as Barack Obama has just said, adopt our regulations and our laws, and this is really fantastic, because we want to lead the way," the governor said at the conference. "And I can promise him, and I want to thank him, first of all, for this great video that he has sent, and also let him know that we in California here are ready to go and do everything that it takes in order to help his administration to follow through with his vision, with his environmental vision.”
The world's environmental ministers plan to meet in Poland in two weeks. "While I won’t be president at the time of your meeting and while the United States has only one president at a time, I’ve asked Members of Congress who are attending the conference as observers to report back to me on what they learn there," Obama says.
The United Nations reported on Monday that carbon emissions from industrialized countries stabilized in 2006 after six years of growth. The report, however, did not cover fast-growing nations, including China and India, that are an increasingly significant source of greenhouse gases.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.