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Obama to US Governors, global climate leaders: "New Ally in White House"

Date
19 November 2008

US President-elect Obama yesterday addressed attendees of the Governors' Global Climate Summit, convened by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The leader of the next US administration assured an audience of government leaders from around the world - including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Indonesia - that his administration would mark a "new era" of US climate leadership. "The United States will once again engage vigorously in [global climate] negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change."

Obama commended those businesses and state governments who have already shown "true leadership" in the fight against global climate change. "Too often Washington has failed to show the same leadership. That will change when I am president."

In his taped address, Obama clearly articulated his vision for US climate leadership at the federal level. His agenda includes ambitious reduction targets, extensive clean energy investments, and creating five million new green jobs in the domestic economy. Linking his climate and economic policies, the president-elect declared that his agenda - crucially - would "transform our industries to steer our country out of this economic crisis."

The timing of this message is significant. Against the backdrop of the worst financial crisis in a generation, the President-elect sent a clear signal to the US Congress that climate change will be a priority to the next Administration. The political will of both the White House and Congress will be needed to address the competing priorities of economic recovery and climate change.

 

Watch Obama's Address

 

Speaking at Governor Schwarzenegger's two-day climate event in Los Angeles, Climate Group CEO Steve Howard said: "It is significant that the next US President has reached across the political divide to acknowledge and endorse bold climate leadership at a State level. This support sends a clear signal to Congress and the world that a new White House will look to address the global climate and, in doing so, re-energise the national economy. California and Florida's emission reduction commitments and capacity for leadership, innovation and growth should reassure other major economies around the world - both national and sub-national - that a prosperous low carbon future is within our grasp."

Earlier in the day, The Climate Group hosted a breakfast to kick-off the Summit. Alina Bokde, President, Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Commission greeted the more than 75 guests from business, non-governmental and government agencies. Two special guests were on hand to offer insight into the economic success California has reaped from its ventures in energy efficiency, innovation and technology development: Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld, Commissioner, California Energy Commission and recipient of an Enrico Fermi award for his lifetime achievement in energy efficiency; and Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, venture capitalist and philanthropist.

The Climate Group will hold the Climate Leaders Summit 2008 - a gathering of sub-national government leaders - at the UN COP14 in Poland in December. Attendees of this growing alliance will include leaders of over 30 sub-national governments across Europe, North America, South America, Africa, China, India and Australia. The event will link member States' existing actions with the efforts of the Governor's Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles and the recent World Summit of Regions in St Malo to accelerate global deployment of low-carbon technologies.

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