john edwards on climate change

While going through my living on earth podcasts, I finally got to John Edwards thoughts on climate change.  It was interesting to notice only three candidates showed for this forum in California, all democrats, and only two of which are really talked about in the news at this point in the race (Clinton and Edwards).  Here are some of the thoughts from John Edwards:

It is embarrassing that the US is sending reps to the Bali conference with no ideas and no solutions to bring to the table.

What we need to do:

  • cap greenhouse gas pollution in 2010 with a cap and auction system,
  • reduce emissions by 20% by 2020
  • reduce further by 80% by 2050
  • we need to meet electricity demand through efficiency in the next decade instead of producing more electricity
  • create a new energy economy fund to support US research in new technology by taking the money from pulling shares out of cap and trade as well as pulling subsidies to existing companies.

The government needs to be honest with citizens… some folks argue that cap and trade will not go far enough.  An effective cap and trade system will have an impact on the cost of fossil fuels. We will never get the change we need by saying that this will be easy.  This will take a lot of hard work. The big change will not be easy, it will take sustained commitment.  There needs to be a president that challenges people to take this on.  We are not just turning a blind eye, we’re dropping the chance to lead the way.

He goes on to talk about the movement of green technology away from US soil, where 90% of solar tech is produced overseas, and hybrid car technology is being led by foreign auto firms. As an example, one headline read that foreign firms envision wind farms dotting the skyline in the US. Why should foreign firms be pioneering this effort?

Further plans he wants to implement:

  • Cut carbon welfare subsidies to invest in renewable energy
  • Spark innovation and competition through smart grids
  • Seed innovation through small loans to homes and businesses for alternative energy and efficiency
  • Create a new market for energy efficiency (currently there is no incentive for efficiency)

Yes, it will take hardships and higher energy costs. Every time we learn something about climate change, we learn that this is more of a problem than we thought before. America is ready to take action on this stuff. The action has to include ways to dealing the the poor in the US, as these will often be the communities hardest hit, and it will be a priority for reinvestment of green jobs to be in those communities most impoverished by moving polluting business out.  The US also needs to take greater action to work with the poor of the world.  In order for the US to be taken seriously as a leader on huge issues is the world has to see America as a force for good in the world, not just for ourselves, but for humanity.

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