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Mike Tidwell
Founder and Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Mike Tidwell

Mike Tidwell is founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. ALL POSTS

Two Steps Obama Can Do to Position the U.S.

Since the Kyoto talks in 1997, global warming predictions have only worsened. Yes, the polar bears are in trouble. But what about 20 feet of sea-level rise in downtown Washington, D.C.? The melting Greenland ice sheet and the Lincoln Memorial are literally on a collision course.


Conversely, the climate for action in Washington has only improved since 1997. Obama, like Clinton, faces a Congress seemingly hesitant to ratify a treaty or pass its own emissions cuts consistent with the science. But Obama, unlike Clinton, has the Supreme Court on his side. The Court declared carbon dioxide -- the main greenhouse gas -- a pollutant in 2007, giving the U.S. EPA the authority to require reductions from carbon-intensive industries.


Everyone would prefer that Congress make policy through legislation, of course. But if a final, strong bill doesn't emerge prior to the December Copenhagen talks, Obama should do two things. First, solidify a mutually beneficial bilateral agreement with China assuring ambitious cuts there. And, second, commit the United States to sharp reductions at home, justified under the Clean Air Act and enforced by the EPA.


These two steps - with or without Congress - will move America to the position it should have occupied since 1997: leading the world in creating clean-energy jobs at home and securing a safe, life-giving climate worldwide. No one is giving up on Congress, of course. Key members have pledged strong action prior to December. But knowing there's a Plan B - one that didn't exist for Clinton - changes the game totally.

By Mike Tidwell  |  October 6, 2009; 3:38 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Only Technology -- Not More Targets and Timetables -- Can Save Copenhagen | Next: Politics are Insufficient to Meeting Climate Change Challenges


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I've gotta comment on the 20 feet increase in sea level thing. Whether or not you or I like it, it will happen. It's happened multiple times before, and it will happen again.

If one believes the geologists (I do), they tell us that the sea level has oscillated between 20 feet higher than it is today to 300 feet lower than it is today, accompanied with a 1 mile thick layer of ice across N. America and Eurasia. The Earth's climate is highly variable, and it varies without the help or hindrance of Man. Get used to it.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | October 11, 2009 8:31 AM
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