President-elect Barack Obama has set a target of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing them by a further 80% by 2050, with safe nuclear energy being used alongside other clean energies.
|President-Elect Obama (Image: Change.gov)
Speaking by video at a bipartisan summit convened by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican Governor of California, Obama said that few challenges facing America, and the world, are more urgent than combating climate change. Obama said the science of climate change is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Unless addressed, he said, climate change and the USA's dependence on foreign oil would continue to weaken the economy and threaten security.
Obama praised state governors and business that had already invested in clean energy, and said that Washington would no longer fail to show the same kind of leadership, delay was no longer an option, nor denial an acceptable response.
He announced that he would introduce a federal cap and trade system, a similar cap and trade emissions trading scheme is already in operation in the European Union.
Strong annual targets would be established that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to return them to 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them by a further 80% by 2050.
$15 billion will be invested each year to catalyse private sector efforts to build a 'clean energy future'. Obama said there will be "investment in solar power, wind power and next-generation biofuels. We'll tap nuclear power, while making sure it is safe, and we will develop clean coal technologies." This investment would help generate five million green jobs.
Obama also said that the work being carried out at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Poznan, Poland, in December was vital to the planet. Although he would not be attending that meeting, Obama committed the US to engage vigorously in future meetings once he had taken office and to lead the world to a new era of global cooperation on climate change. He closed by saying that any nation to join the cause of combating climate change would have an ally in the USA.