January 7, 2010
By almost every measure 2009 was an exceptional year in the United States for action on cooling the planet. More than 35 states and hundreds of cities took measures to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, and pursue clean energy technology. In February, the new US president signed into law a recovery bill that included $110 billion for clean energy equipment, research, building a smart-grid, and energy-efficient public transit. In June, the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive energy and climate package that will reduce greenhouse gases by over 80 percent by 2050. In December, the EPA ruled that C02 and other greenhouse gases are a hazard to health and the environment and will regulate them under the Clean Air Act.
And as the year ended, President Obama helped to negotiate the Copenhagen Accord, which engages the U.S. and 185 other developed and developing countries in a global agreement that reduces emissions, invests in clean energy technology and practices, and helps people adapt to the effects of climate change. The accord also, for the first time, acknowledged that staying below 2 degrees Celsius may not be sufficient and includes a review in 2015 of the need to potentially aim for staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or an atmospheric C02 concentration of 350 ppm.
This year is just as important to the work of climate action in the U.S. There is substantial work to do to in 2010 to convince the US Senate, the Obama administration, state lawmakers, and opinion leaders – business executives among them – to complete and implement new climate action and clean energy policies.
USCAN is at the center of this work. We are strengthening our communications capacity and enhancing our strategy this year to elevate the issue of energy and climate as a critical priority for the Obama Administration and the Congress. We are helping our member organizations to amplify their research and innovative policy development. We are recruiting new USCAN members and broadening our grassroots base. And we are coordinating with the best minds and strategists on climate action in the U.S. and globally.
These facets of our work come even as USCAN continues our robust program for coordinating American and global NGO activity in US and international climate forums, meetings, and conferences.
Thanks so much for being a part. Keep track of our Web site for new and useful features. And talk to you next week, Keith Schneider