President Obama Is Right To Show Leadership on Climate Change
With his statement today, the President is showing the leadership we need for a healthy and prosperous future. It will be welcomed not only here in the United States, but around the world.
The President deserves praise not only for the steps he announced today – but also for what he has achieved to date. Under his leadership, fuel economy standards have doubled, strong incentives are driving innovation in renewable energy and the smart grid, and clean air standards are reducing emissions and improving public health.
The President’s actions today will accelerate these trends – shifting power plants from coal to gas, encouraging greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy development. His new climate leadership team – John Kerry at State, Gina McCarthy at EPA, and Ernie Moniz at Energy – is first-rate and deeply understands the challenge. The Senate should take up the McCarthy nomination and confirm her immediately.
In just the last five years, we have seen remarkably positive developments in the ability of cleaner energy sources to contribute to the economic vitality of the country. Natural gas is available in increasing abundance and at low cost – driving dirty coal-fired power plants out of business. The cost of renewable energy has fallen dramatically. Last year wind energy provided more than 40% of all new U.S. generating capacity, more than any other source, and it is keeping overall electricity costs low. Increased energy efficiency is cutting demand for new power plants, and new cars are on a path to doubling their fuel economy. All of these trends are helpful to the climate, and U.S. emissions have dropped significantly.
As a result, the opportunity is now ripe for further action. U.S. leadership on climate change is needed now to ensure our economic well-being for the future. The President’s willingness to take executive action recognizes the urgency of reducing its magnitude and preparing for its impacts.
Timothy Wirth served as the UN Foundation’s founding President until February 2013 and continues as Vice Chair of the Board. He previously represented Colorado in the U.S. House and Senate and served as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs under President Clinton, leading the Administration’s climate change negotiations.
About the United Nations Foundation:
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.