Monday, January 26, 2009

Change to get excited about

The election of President Barack Obama will mean a lot of great changes for the environment, I believe, and today we're seeing the first few examples of the changes to come.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she is appointing a special envoy to lead US efforts to fight Global Warming.  I am so thrilled that the global issue of Climate Change is going to be addressed holistically, not just by the department of energy or department of transportation as a domestic or industrial issue, but also addressed by the department of the state as an international and diplomatic issue.  

I don't know a lot about Todd Stern, who is expected to lead the envoy, but he worked in the Clinton administration and was involved in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations in the 90s.  Hopefully not signing the Protocol wasn't his idea, and we'll see more progress on that front in this administration.  From the looks of some of his articles online, I'm thinking we can expect to see great progress. 

The White House blog also announced that President Obama signed a two memos today that deal with energy independence and climate change.  The first directs the department of transportation to raise CAFE standards (fuel efficiency standards) for 2011 model cars.  The second memo will allow California and 12 other states to raise their emissions standards higher than the national standard.  I applaud this decision, and am curious to see how it plays out- what kind of challenges still lay ahead of states trying to lead the way for energy efficiency, and how much will the oil and auto industries fight back?  We'll have to wait and see- but I've never been more hopeful in my life that progress is upon us. 

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