Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Friday, July 06, 2007

John Edwards Calls for Action to Stop Global Warming

I have just learned that on Saturday morning, July 7, John Edwards will again call for bold action to halt global warming as part of his Saturday morning e-cast series. According to a press release from the Edwards campaign, Edwards will call for America to meet three goals:

  • Halt global warming by capping and reducing greenhouse gas pollution and leading the world to a new global climate change treaty.
  • Create a new energy economy and 1 million new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy, which will spark innovation, a new era in American industry, and life in family farms.
  • Meet the demand for new electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing more power.

The Edwards campaign was the first presidential campaign to be carbon neutral. According to the campaign, they balance the carbon emitted by campaign travel and the energy used in their campaign headquarters and field offices by conserving energy and purchasing carbon offsets.

According to the press release from the Edwards campaign, this is what Edwards will say in his Saturday morning e-cast:

"Let me say first thank you to everyone for joining me in this conversation. This is a really historic week in the worldwide movement to do something about global warming, to stop it. This Saturday, 2 billion people on seven continents will come together for the 24-hour Live Earth concerts, series of those around the world, that have been organized by Al Gore and Kevin Wall. Here in the U.S., members of MoveOn are going to host thousands of house parties to watch the concert and take action to deal with this issue.

"This is more evidence of an idea I believe in very strongly, which is that the true power in this country is not just in the Oval Office, it’s in the American people. And those people will gather in living rooms, town centers and communities for no more important task than saving the world.

"I'm not surprised that regular people are leading while Washington goes slowly and stalls, because we all know that Washington has been dominated by special interests, and they keep getting richer while the climate keeps heating up. Normal people are leading because the supposed leader of the free world is not leading– but I want to assure all of you that when I’m president, they will have a leader who is up to this task.

"I was proud of the fact that earlier this year, I was one of the first candidates to pledge a carbon neutral campaign and I was the first to come out with a detailed plan to stop global warming by reducing our carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, build a new energy economy that among other things produces 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources, and to freeze our growing electricity demand with efficiency, getting more out of the power we already produce.

"My plan – which you can actually find on my website, johnedwards.com – has lots of ways that not just the government and not just business but regular people can stop global warming. I have also set up a website called ReduceYourCarbon.com where you can pledge to reduce your personal carbon footprint – visitors have pledged to reduce over 30 million pounds of carbon so far this year.

"But as this week’s gatherings show, this cause of stopping global warming is going to require us all to stand up and push back – because there are powerful interests who are profiting from the way it is.

"That’s why I want to talk to you today about just one of the ways I will take up the fight against climate change as president. Coal is the dominant source of electricity in America and it will be for decades to come, but we need to find a way to use it without heating the planet.

"So as president, I will stop big coal from building a single new power plant in America that doesn’t have the technology to capture their carbon emissions.

"The government reports that the coal industry and their financial backers on Wall Street are planning to build around 150 new coal-fired power plants to meet rising energy demand in the next few decades. That would add more than 800 million metric tons of CO2 to our environment a year. That’s 40 percent more than we’re emitting now. That’s when we know we need to go in exactly the opposite direction. And an estimated 30,000 Americans die every year from diseases linked to pollution from coal-fired plants.

"This is not something they are talking about in Washington. In the energy bill debate two weeks ago, some people actually tried to wrap increased pollution in the flag, saying that investing in more traditional coal-fired plants – or even worse, new fuels made out of liquid coal, which is a terrible idea – is the patriotic thing to do for America because coal is abundant here at home.

"Here's what I say to this: it’s not moral leadership if we reduce imports of oil but increase our exports of carbon pollution. We’re already 4 percent of the world’s population emitting 25% of its greenhouse gases.

"That’s not the America we want to be. As president, I will take back our democracy from these powerful interests so that regular people can change this country.

"Not only am I going to stop coal-fired power plants from adding to our pollution problems, but I will reduce our emissions, doing what the global community asked America to do at the recent G8 summit: cut the world’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

"It's time for the President of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war.

"We will need a cap and trade system where polluters pay if they pollute. And big companies are required to change the way they operate.

"Oil companies that run gas stations will have to carry alternative fuels at a quarter of their stations, because every new car in America will have to be equipped for alternatives or flex-fuels.

"Utilities that today profit by selling more and more polluting energy will have to help customers save electricity, and open up their grids to power produced locally, with rooftop solar panels and local wind turbines.

"Automakers that are squeezing profits out of high-polluting SUVs will have to develop the cars of the future with a 40 miles-per-gallon fuel economy standard.

"None of this is going happen unless we demand it. The oil companies won’t do it. The utilities won’t do it. The coal companies won’t do it. And as we saw with the energy bill, Washington won’t do it. Our generation has to do it – we cannot wait for somebody else to take responsibility.

"I've seen it with my own eyes what regular people can do when they are called to action. Actually, in January, our campaign asked supporters to join our One Corps National Day of Energy Action. All across the country, One Corps members took action and worked on community service activities, weatherizing homes, distributing energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. In April, I joined the thousands who gathered at “Step It Up” events across the country, demanding that Washington step up action on climate change.

"This is just the beginning. We are at that legendary crossroad: The point at which the future is determined by the choices we make and the action we take, all of us.

"As people all over the world are showing this week, if we don’t act now, we are going to be in trouble. But if we’re willing to act, and willing to lead, we can literally save the world.

"Thank you all so much."

You can also sign the LiveEarth pledge on the John Edwards website.

To all of this I say:

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