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Obama promises actions on climate change, not going to attend UN climate conference

During a climate summit in California today Barack Obama said, in a taped video, that his "presidency will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change".

Obama spoke about his support for a cap-and-trade system and that he would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and with 80% by 2050. Obama also said he wanted to give the private sector $15 billion each year to support their investments efforts in clean energy.

"I promise you this: When I am president, any governor who's willing to promote clean energy will have a partner in the White House. Any company that's willing to invest in clean energy will have an ally in Washington. And any nation that's willing to join the cause of combating climate change will have an ally in the United States of America."

Obama also said that he would not attend the United Nations climate change conference in Poland this December. But he promised that once he becomes President USA "will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations".

"Once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change."

The "Governors Global Climate Summit", opened by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will have more than 800 scientists, environmentalists, government and industry officials from 19 different countries attending. The attendees will discuss strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and how countries can protect both the environment and the economy.

"When California passed its global warming law two years ago, we were out there on an island, so we started forming partnerships everywhere we could," Governor Schwarzenegger said. "We teamed up with Great Britain, the Canadian provinces, the Western and Northeastern states and with states like those of my co hosts-Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin and more. And right here, for the first time, we have officials from China, India, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and across the world in the same summit, working toward the same goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing green economies in our own backyards."

"Florida's rapid progress has been possible only through partnership agreements with the United Kingdom and Germany, and with the help of my good friend, Governor Schwarzenegger," Florida Governor Charlie Crist said. "Progress comes only as we work together-not at the expense of future economic growth-but as a necessity for the future prosperity of all nations and states."

"This Summit is an opportunity to strengthen important relationships with business and government officials nationally and internationally and develop climate change strategies that will save us money, create jobs, help secure our world and improve our air and water," Wisconsin Governor Doyle said.

"There is an incredible opportunity here to get our nation's economy back on track by creating green jobs and becoming a world leader in the development of clean energy technologies," Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius said. "In Kansas, our farms and fields can produce tomorrow's energy through biofuels and clean, renewable wind. Rural America is going to play an important part in securing energy independence for our nation."

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Guest Jake Schmidt, Natural Resources Defense Council


With the next international climate negotiation set to occur in Poland in just under two weeks, he also signaled that he will restore America’s leadership in international global warming negotiations (as I discussed here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/ blogs/ jschmidt/ obama_signals_leadership_on_global_warming.html). With his statement today and his request for a report back from Members of Congress attending the Poland meeting, the President-elect has sent the signal that the delegates have waited so long to hear...the US is back in the serious negotiations.

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